House Bill 854 otherwise known as the “Woman’s Right to Know” Bill was passed in the House with a vote of 71-48, one vote short of a veto-proof majority. The bill requires that doctors provide women seeking an abortion with a 24-hour waiting period before making a decision, literature about alternative options, and an ultrasound before receiving an abortion. Women are allowed to opt not to see the ultrasound or not to read the information, if they wish.
Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R – Mecklenburg) presented the bill and proposed an amendment which deleted Section 2 of the bill which stated that parental consent needed to be notarized. She said that after review, it was decided that this provision would be an unnecessary violation of the privacy of the patient. The debate on the floor over the implementation of the bill lasted over an hour as numerous representatives stated their opposition to the bill.
Rep. Diane Parfitt (D – Cumberland) expressed her shock that abortion is still an issue in 2011, stating she thought requiring an opportunity to view an ultrasound before having an abortion would be a highly traumatic experience for women.
Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D – Wilson) thought that this bill was hindering the rights of women. “They don’t do it [require information] for males with prostate cancer, why for women?” she asked. Rep. Rick Glazier (D – Cumberland) stated that he was tired of hearing about abortion, and that its opponents are too caught up in claiming moral superiority. He did state that abortion is a serious decision because “something does die.” It is not yet a baby, but something does die [when you have an abortion],” he said. It would be interesting to see what exactly Rep. Glazier’s definition of that something might be. Rep. Angela R. Bryant (D – Halifax, Nash) had an answer for Rep. Glazier when she described unborn children as “fetuses who can become babies” when she protested the bill. As opposed to fetuses who can’t.
Reps. Jennifer Weiss (D – Wake), Deborah K. Ross (D – Wake), Patsy Keever (D – Buncombe), Susan C. Fisher (D – Buncombe), R. Phillip Haire (D – Haywood), Bill Faison (D – Caswell) and Martha B. Alexander (D – Mecklenburg) each expressed their disagreement of the bill calling it a violation of women’s rights and a government intrusion into the doctor – patient relationship. Rep. Samuelson pointed out that doctor – patient relationships that are truly functional should have nothing to fear from a bill that merely ensures that this relationship is carried out in an ethical manner.
This is a fantastic victory for pro-life advocates across the state as the fiscal note states that some 1149 more children are projected to be born next year if this bill is implemented. From here it will be engrossed and sent to the Senate. If passed in the Senate it will be laid on the desk of Gov. Perdue to await her verdict.