Extreme Ultrasound Laws on the Horizon in NC?

On July 26th the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to override Governor Perdue’s recent veto of a new bill that would require physicians to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion. They will also have to offer to let a woman see the ultrasound. Then, in a beyond offensive requirement, the doctor will have to describe the image- regardless of the woman’s wishes. They will also be required to provide women with a document stating that she is terminating “the life of a separate, unique human being.” Gov. Perdue vetoed the bill because she recognized that the decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her doctor and any state requirements regarding the decision are a complete violation of the woman’s rights.

The bill initially passed both the House and Senate with margins one vote short of meeting the minimum requirements to override a veto. In the House however, Democratic Rep. James Crawford changed his vote to endorse the bill. He had previously voted against the bill in order to stay in line with his party but said his “heart wasn’t really in it” and this time around voted to override the veto. His vote tipped the scale and gave the override the 72 votes needed.

In the Senate the bill initially passed with 29 votes but they will need 30 to override the veto. Two Republican Senators may be crucial to whether they get that last vote or not. In the first round, Sen. Stan Bingham voted against the measure because he felt there was misinformation in the arguments being used to support the bill. He said his daughter is a physician who strongly disagrees with a lot of the information provided by the bills supports and her opinion, which matches that of the overall medical profession’s opinion, prompted him to vote against the bill. Sen. Richard Stevens did not vote in the initial stage so if either of them change their position, it would tip the balance. This would enable an override of the veto of the bill and allow it to become law.

Even if the Senate overrides the veto, it is unlikely that the law will remain unchallenged for long. Similarly demeaning laws already exist in both Texas and Oklahoma and both have pending legal action. In Texas the law is not set to go into effect until September 1st but the Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction preventing it from being enforced until a full trial can be heard. In Oklahoma, the law passed last year and a temporary injunction was already granted blocking the law from being enforced; as of now it is still pending a final decision from the State Supreme Court.

 

 

UPDATE:

                As of Thursday July 28th, the North Carolina Senate officially voted to override Governor Perdue’s veto of the Ultrasound law which requires a doctor to perform an ultrasound before an abortion and must describe the image to the patient.

                Sen. Bingham, who previously voted against the bill, opted to not participate in the vote. This brought the minimum number of votes required to overturn the veto down to 29 which gave the initial supporters enough votes to override the veto.

                The House of Representatives had already voted to overturn the veto, the Senate vote makes it official.

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