“Woman’s right to know act” passed in the house; don’t let it succeed in the senate

This Wednesday, the NC House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation requiring women to receive mandatory counseling, wait 24 hours, and see an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.

NC Republicans are trying to perversely frame this as a rights issue.

Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg County said: “”This is about respecting women […]It is still her choice. It makes it her informed choice.”

What if the state required you to get mandatory counseling and wait 24 hours before getting tested for cancer, to make sure you were “prepared” and “informed” to hear potentially traumatic news?  What if the state required you to get mandatory counseling and wait 24 hours before getting your wisdom teeth removed, starting to take a new medication, getting lasik or having a pacemaker implanted, to make sure you understood all the risks?

It actively disrepects and patronizes women to assume that the only type of medical procedure they are incapable of understanding, or about which they can only make an “informed choice” if the state intervenes are abortions.

All this legislation does is put a road-block in the way of women accessing an intervention that the Supreme Court has ruled that women have the right to receive.  The burden that this type of legislation would add to women seeking abortions are enormous:

  • For those who don’t live nearby one of the seven cities in NC that have abortion service providers, this means that a one day procedure necessairly becomes  a two day procedure, meaning more time off from work and a night in a hotel, raising the costs substantially for low-income women
  • Sonograms are themselves expensive–from $80 to $300–and the cost of the mandatory counseling is hard to quantify

For women who can still afford the more expensive treatment, there is no reason to believe that it impacts the decision making proccess; this “additional information” doesn’t seem to be informing anyone’s decision.  As the New York Times explained:

In one of the few studies of the issue — there have been none in the United States — two abortion clinics in British Columbia found that 73 percent of patients wanted to see an image if offered the chance. Eighty-four percent of the 254 women who viewed sonograms said it did not make the experience more difficult, and none reversed her decision.

Contact the NC State Senate to voice your opposition:

  • Floyd McKissick (Senator from the 20th, containing Duke’s campus) (919) 733-4599
  • Austin Allran (Duke alum) (919) 733-5876
  • Andrew Brock (Sponsor of the legislation in the senate) (919) 715-0690

Published by Elena Botella

Elena Botella is a Duke Undergraduate in the Class of 2013, majoring in Economics and Math.

2 thoughts on ““Woman’s right to know act” passed in the house; don’t let it succeed in the senate

  1. Sen. Bob Atwater is also a representative of Durham. He is very approachable and genuine. His legislative office number is (919) 715-3036.

    Disclosure: Bob Atwater is my father.


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