By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
December 2, 2016
A group of abortion practitioners and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday in an effort to knock down North Carolina’s law banning abortions after 20 weeks.
Although the ban on abortions after 20 weeks has been a part of North Carolina law since the 1970s, state lawmakers amended the statute in 2015 to narrow the provision for an exception when there is an emergency.
The complaint, however, by the Plaintiffs declare that the exceptions are now too narrow for them to serve the needs of their patients. Plaintiffs include Planned Parenthood and its South Atlantic affiliate, Dr. Amy Bryant, Dr. Beverly Gray and Dr. Elizabeth Deans.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the purpose for amending the law last year was because its language was too open-ended. “It had a hole in it big enough to run a locomotive through,” he said. “The previous law stated a woman could have an abortion after 20 weeks, if the pregnancy substantially risked the life of the mother or seriously impaired her health. The problem is, when you talk about ‘the health of the mother,’ that might include just about any subjective psychological or emotional condition named – not exactly something that can be measured. You can find a lot of illegitimate excuses to pigeon-hole an abortion under a provision as broad as that one.”
The newly amended law more tightly defines when an abortion past 20 weeks should be allowed. It reads:
“A condition which, in reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including any psychological or emotional conditions. For purposes of this definition, no condition shall be deemed a medical emergency if based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which would result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
Pro-life champion and Speaker Pro-Tempore in the N.C. House, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake), told the Charlotte Observer the amendment was meant to “close holes” and employed “a definition for ‘health’ that the courts have used.”
Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life also weighed in on the legal challenge to the amended law.
“Physicians can end a pregnancy and save a mother’s life without doing an abortion.” stated Holt. “Dr. Anthony Levantino, MD, JD, a former abortionist, stated in a US House Committee on the Judiciary that he had managed hundreds of high risk cases by terminating pregnancy without ever having to kill the unborn child.”
Holt continued by saying, “Let’s give both mother and her child the greatest chance at life by trying to save them both. Some babies have survived when born at 21 weeks; additionally, we know through medical science that babies can feel excruciating pain during an abortion as early as 20 weeks post fertilization.”
Live Action News in October reported on mother, Lynn Andrews, who lives near Lynchburg, Virginia. Andrews posted a personal photo on Facebook of her baby girl, Gabrielle, the victim of a miscarriage at 20 weeks.
Andrews stated in the post that she had never shared the picture before except with close friends and family. “It’s highly personal to Joe (her husband) and I, not something I take lightly. It’s one of the only images of our sweet girl that I will have until we reach heaven.”
Andrews posted the picture to advocate for the protection and preservation of unborn children. She noted that “Gabrielle is even younger than other babies who some think ‘it’s okay to rip apart, piece by precious piece.’”
“Unfortunately, [Gabrielle] couldn’t be saved,” said Andrews. “But thousands more, just like her can be…It should terrify us all that this kind of barbaric act is protected, even encouraged and applauded, by our United States Government.”
Andrews Facebook post has been “liked” by 144,000 people and shared by nearly 64,000.
Defendants named in the lawsuit against North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks include Jim Woodall, the district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties, Roger Echols, the Durham County district attorney, Eleanor Greene, president of the North Carolina Medical Board, and Rick Brajer, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
LifeNews.com states, “The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and abortion activists are desperately trying to keep it that way. Despite what abortion activists claim, the laws that prohibit later-term abortions…are backed by strong scientific evidence and concerns about the well-being of women and children.”