“This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors,” she said. “The bill contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship. Physicians must be free to advise and treat their patients based on their medical knowledge and expertise and not have their advice overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others.”
This language is from Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto statement of HB 854, the “Woman’s Right to Know” Act. The bill – among other things – requires that any woman seeking an abortion be shown an ultrasound of her unborn child, be informed of the medical risks associated with the procedure and wait at least 24 hours before seeking an abortion.
The phrasing the governor uses in her veto statement is instructive. She opposes provisions to give a woman an ultrasound picture of the baby growing inside of her. She also opposes provisions to provide women with additional valuable medical and scientific information about abortion and her pregnancy. According to Perdue, actions helping women make informed decisions when seeking an abortion constitute a “dangerous intrusion.”
Moreover, Gov. Perdue calls provisions in the abortion legislation “the most extreme in the nation.” Such a claim begs specificity, but she conveniently provides none. Thirty-two states currently have women’s right to know legislation.
While Perdue’s veto of abortion legislation didn’t surprise many, her reasoning did. I bet you didn’t know of her concern to make sure government doesn’t intervene in that “confidential relationship between a woman and her doctor” or of her commitment to ensuring that the advice of doctors not be “overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others.” I’d be interested to learn the number of drivers who ran off the road when they heard that statement.
If you read the governor’s veto statement above and substitute the word “individual” for “women” in the first sentence, you have the conservative case against Obamacare. Such realities escape the governor. Instead, she throws her principles aside and plays the good soldier fighting for Obamacare despite it being the greatest government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship in our nation’s history.
But Perdue’s internal contradictions extend beyond her HB 854 veto. On June 23rd, she vetoed legislation requiring individuals to provide photo identification before voting. In her veto statement, Perdue said the legislation would create an undue burden and “unfairly disenfranchise voters.”
Numerous polls show voter ID legislation enjoys the support of close to 75 percent of respondents. Four days after vetoing voter ID legislation due to her supposed concern over “disenfranchisement,” Gov. Perdue signed legislation (SB 474) requiring individuals to present a photo ID to obtain certain controlled substances. Permissible types of ID include a driver’s license, state identification card, military ID card or a passport. Interestingly, all but eight members of the state legislature voted for this measure. Among the supporters were most Democrats, who only recently voted against the voter ID bill and who agree with Gov. Perdue that it would create a hardship to voting and serve to disenfranchise voters.
The voter ID bill, however, would offer a free ID to voters who need one; the bill to require ID for controlled substances does not. Perdue’s support for the legislation shows it’s really not about hurdles and disenfranchising voters. I guess she is not worried about all the minorities and poor who might not be able to produce a valid ID for their prescriptions.
You can’t buy a pack of cigarettes without an ID. Now add certain drug prescriptions to that list. Somehow, in the governor’s eyes, the need to protect the integrity of our elections doesn’t warrant similar requirements.
North Carolina’s current governor is not the first governor who readily trades politics for principles. I’m disappointed by her actions, but not surprised. The vetoes roused her liberal base and exposed her hypocrisy. Most importantly, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of the 2012 elections.
Dr. Robert Luebke is a senior policy analyst at the Civitas Institute in Raleigh