On the heels of suppressing voting rights, North Carolina’s Senate was on a roll and gave final approval to their version of state interference in women’s reproductive health.
We’ve seen similar laws in other Republican controlled states – most recently Texas. In short, they introduce a series of regulations on existing reproductive health clinics that are impossible to comply with, cost prohibitive or both.
In North Carolina’s version, the provision that stood out the most for public debate requires reproductive health clinics to meet the same regulatory standards required of ambulatory surgery clinics. This is a trick du jour of Republicans who fantasize about women living to blink and say yes master to their husbands before moving on to the next pregnancy.
Another provision is touted by the corporate media, like CNN and WRAL as requiring the doctor to be present during the entire surgical procedure. But as “Pam Pearson”, who commented on CNN’s report pointed out this is misleading.
The part of the bill that “requires doctors to be present during an abortion” concerns medical, non-surgical abortions, which are performed in some states with the doctor advising via a webcast (sometimes called telemedicine) – it’s a way to provide support for this sort of procedure to remote areas, although it is not currently being done in NC in this fashion. The other part of the bill would require a doctor to stay with a patient throughout the surgical and post-surgical period of an abortion, instead of allowing other health care professionals to address these needs, as they typically do in the context of other procedures. The truth – all these provisions are designed to restrict access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, they have NOTHING to do with safety or concern for women.
Indeed, other provisions bolster Pearson’s assertion that this has nothing to do with safety or concern for women. The fact that Republicans first tried to pass this in a bill on Sharia law in the dead of the night, then in a bill regulating motorcycles is sort of a red flag that this is about fulfiling an ideological agenda. Aside from those provisions the bill contains some other features that do nothing to raise standards or address women’s safety. Such as:
- Any healthcare provider is free to opt out of abortion procedures.
- Prohibts healthcare insurance providers in the ACA exchange from offering coverage for abortion services. (The irony is that many healthcare plans also don’t provide coverage for prenatal care and other pregnancy services.)
- Bans cities and counties from offering their employee’s health care policies that include coverage for abortions.
This is intrusive government on steroids. Aside from intruding on women’s personal decision making, bills like this also intervene on the relationship a woman has with her significant other or spouse and her doctor – not to mention the fact that it intrudes on decisions made by cities and counties.
Combined with the voter suppression bill, Pope’s Republicans are sticking it to every North Carolinian they can in the waning hours before they close session.
It’s possible that Governor McCrory will honor his campaign promise to veto any bill restricting women’s reproductive rights. But then, I don’t believe in multi-colored unicorns either.
Image my brown baby