By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — A 15-year-old is driven to an abortion clinic by her boyfriend. She brings with her $500 and a parental consent form with a parent’s name written on it and is taken into surgery within the hour. No one tells her about the medical risks of abortion or that of carrying a child to term. She has no idea what the baby inside her looks like or how far along it is in its development. She doesn’t even know the name of the doctor who will do the abortion much less whether he has malpractice insurance or clinical privileges at the local hospital.
This scenario is a reality in North Carolina today, but one that many lawmakers hope to change with House Bill 854 – Abortion-Woman’s Right to Know Act. Filed on April 6, the bill would require a 24-hour waiting period after a woman has been given complete and accurate information about the procedure and her unborn child. She would also be offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the child’s heartbeat if the legislation passes. It is expected to be taken up soon in Judiciary Subcommittee B, a hearing that will itself be historical.
“For the past 20 years, similar ‘Woman’s Right to Know’ bills have been filed over and over, and since 1997, none has ever been discussed,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “In 2009, the bill was sponsored by 48 members of the House but was not taken up even in committee. We’re much more hopeful this year.”
In addition to making sure women know the risks associated with abortion, including its psychological effects, the bill would also tighten the parental consent rule for minors, requiring that a parent’s signature on the form be notarized. Sponsored primarily by Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg) and Pat McElraft (R-Carteret), the measure would further ensure that women who inquire about abortion are given information on “public and private agencies and services available to assist her through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent, including adoption agencies.”
North Carolina Right to Life has named H 854 its top priority for this legislative session saying that it has the potential to “reduce dramatically the approximately 30,000 abortions performed in our state every year.”
“Generally speaking, the decision whether to have an abortion is often a traumatic one. It is not made any easier by ignorance,” said Barbara Holt, president of NCRL. “The question has too often been framed as a choice between a lifetime of misery or a quick fix. The issue is more complicated as many women later sadly realize.”
Holt went on to say that informed consent legislation is “not an attack on a personal freedom, but a guarantee of it.”
“It safeguards a woman’s right to know and to make informed decisions, helps protect physicians from lawsuits, and is a reasoned and compassionate response to the needs of concerned pregnant women,” she said.
If enacted, the bill would take effect Dec. 1. A companion bill, S 769, has been filed by Senators Andrew Brock (R-Davie), Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston) and Warren Daniel (R-Burke).
The Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is challenging Baptists across the state to “take a grace-filled and prayerful stance on this issue and speak the truth in love to state representatives.”
“Urge them to pass this law that will give women the information they need to choose NOT to have an abortion,” wrote Traci Griggs in a recent CLPA blog post. “If you feel led, take a step further. Communicate to your community through your local newspapers and email lists. And, of course, pray.”
The first lawmakers to discuss the bill will be those on the Judiciary Subcommittee B, chaired by Majority Leader Paul Stam (Wake) and Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Alleghany), who are both sponsors of the bill.
Rep. Stam said the strongest objections to the measure will be from “abortion clinics, doctors and staff who will see their business cut by a large fraction.”
Rev. Creech urged supporters of the Christian Action League, as well as other pro-life proponents to start contacting their lawmaker in the N. C. House now about the legislation.
Take Christian Action:
PHONE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE NC HOUSE and ask him/her to support HB 854-Woman’s Right to Know Act. For the telephone number of your Representative and a phone script (talking points), simply go to the Christian Action League’s Grassroots Action Center by clicking here and then click on “Take Action” at the bottom of the page and follow the prompts. It’s really very easy!
Phone calls are important in this case. Emails may not be seen or deleted. Your lawmaker needs to hear from you. If he/she is not in the office when you call, leave your message with the Legislative Assistant who will be answering the phone. Be certain to give your name, address, and telephone number. This way your lawmaker knows it was from one of his own constituents and may want to return the call. If for some reason no one answers the phone, leave a voicemail.
Lawmakers will fully be back at work and in their offices by Tuesday, May 3rd. After this time through Thursday is the best time to catch them.
You may also want to share this matter with your Pastor, your Church, and other friends, whom you know will be concerned about this issue. Download the talking points or phone script by Clicking here.Then make copies and pass it around to friends in your area (the same legislative district as your own), along with the phone number of the Representative handwritten by you somewhere on the page. Urge family members and friends to call also.
Remember: THIS IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES!!! Take the time to be a good Christian Citizen. Make a difference by generating a wave of phone calls urging your Representative to pass this critical legislation to protect a woman’s right to be fully informed when she’s considering an abortion.