NC Bill Would Expand Access to Abortion and Protect Reproductive Freedom

April 4, 2017 4:00 pm

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RALEIGH — North Carolina lawmakers today introduced legislation that would enshrine the fundamental right to obtain an abortion into state law and repeal state restrictions that impede access to abortion. The Whole Woman’s Health Act, HB 563, also prevents any new, needless barriers to reproductive care by prohibiting restrictions on abortion that have no legitimate medical benefit.

“A woman’s access to abortion care should not depend on her zip code or economic status. We must ensure that the right to an abortion is not just a right on paper, but is a reality for all people,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “After years of harmful bills that have eroded North Carolinians’ reproductive freedom, the Whole Woman’s Health Act would codify a woman’s right to access abortion in North Carolina and help guarantee safe, respectful reproductive health care to women across our state”

Among its provisions, House Bill 563 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 588, would

  • Establish that comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe abortion, is a vital component of overall health
  • Repeal laws that impede access to abortion
  • Prevent the enforcement of laws or regulations that burden abortion access without legitimate health benefits

For more than forty years, the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion. The Supreme Court established that right in Roe v. Wade in 1973, and reaffirmed the right in the 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and most recently in the landmark decision, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

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