Health care professionals condemn proposed abortion ban in open letter to legislative leaders

Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly has fast tracked two intentionally inflammatory anti-abortion billsHouse Bill 453 and Senate Bill 405, which aims to further restrict abortion rights in the state. 

If enacted, House Bill 453, would prevent a person from obtaining an abortion based on the presumed race of the fetus or a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The bill also chips away at a patient’s constitutional rights to abortion and privacy, by making the healthcare providers question their patient regarding the reasons behind their decision and deny care depending on their answers.

Senate Bill 405, which resembles a bill of the same name in 2019 that was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper, is just another attempt for Republicans to stigmatize reproductive health care and criminalize providers from providing the care that their patients need.

This comes as more than 60 anti-abortion bills, pushed by Republicans, have been introduced or passed in state legislatures across the country this year.

  • In response to HB 453, 99 North Carolina physicians, nurses, clinicians, and counselors have condemned the proposed abortion ban in an open letter to legislator leaders, stating, “H.B.453 would replace open, honest conversations between patients and their clinicians with an environment of fear, stigma, and interrogation”.
  • Organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina are also opposed to the discriminatory bills, stating, “HB453 and SB405 are continued attempts to control people’s personal decisions and further stigmatize abortion care, while doing nothing to address the complex and intersecting needs of pregnant people making these decisions. By forcing providers and patients to question each other’s motives, these bills will increase stigma and stress rather than providing care and comfort”.

House Bill 453 and Senate Bill 405 would further restrict abortion access for North Carolinians and aims to control the reproductive decision-making process of women and gender-oppressed people. These bills will also impact Black and Brown pregnant peoples’ who are seeking safe health care services — further deterring them from reaching out to health care providers due to discrimination.

Bottom Line: It seems that the Republicans in NCGA are more focused on attacking North Carolinians than advancing legislation that will provide relief, protect our rights and take steps in ensuring equity for all our communities. 

If our lawmakers want to do what’s best for reproductive health, they should start by ensuring all North Carolinians have access to affordable and equitable healthcare through expanding Medicaid, increasing paid sick leave and access to childcare, and ensuring protections for Black maternal health.

Alanna Joyner

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