Republicans in North Carolina’s state legislature bravely tackled some of the most pressing issues facing the Tarheel State yesterday, clearing out months of backlogged legislation and setting an example for state legislatures across the nation. Oh no, wait…I’m sorry, they actually passed a bill requiring women to wait 3 days before getting an abortion.
In case you’re wondering, North Carolina already has a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion, which has been on the books since 2011 – but Republicans in the state legislature apparently think that 24 hours isn’t enough time for a woman to make up her mind about her reproductive choices.
Despite critics who called it patronizing and even “dangerous,” a bill that would extend the waiting period for abortions passed a House committee Wednesday.
The Health Committee approved House Bill 465 by a party line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats against. It could be voted on by the House as early as Thursday.
“This bill is and has always been about protecting women’s health,” said Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, a Charlotte Republican and bill sponsor. “This is empowering to people. This enables women to make informed decisions.”
The bill would extend the waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours instead of the current 24. The state enacted the 24-hour waiting period in 2011. (Source)
Guess how long you have to wait to buy a gun in North Carolina? If you said absolutely zero time and that you can walk into a gun show and buy an AR-15 with a 30 round clip from a private seller without any kind of paperwork, you’d be correct. However, if state Republicans get their way and you’re a woman needing an abortion, you will have to wait 72 hours from the time of your consultation until you can undergo the procedure.
This isn’t about being “pro-life” since Republicans are more than happy to let firearms get into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, thanks to their opposition to any kind of regulations on firearms. Can you imagine the outcry from these “pro-life” Republicans if a 3-day waiting period was required before a person could buy a gun? The NRA, the Tea Party, and other conservative groups would descend on Raleigh and anyone supporting such a bill would probably receive threats of bodily injury or even death for “violating” the only part of the Constitution they seem to have read, but still don’t understand. In case you’re wondering, the Supreme Court has ruled that a woman has a right to an abortion under the Constitution, but that’s irrelevant to the people who care only about the 2nd Amendment, and the 1st when it suits them.
The 72-hour waiting period is part of an ongoing push across the United States by anti-abortion activists, and sadly, some are members of my own family.
The 72-hour waiting period would be one of the longest in the country, joining South Dakota, Utah and Missouri. Several other state legislatures are considering similar extensions.
The North Carolina Family Policy Council, which actively lobbied for the bill, heralded its passage as an “important pro-life measure,” while Planned Parenthood, which lobbied against it, said its passage “further proves these anti-women’s health politicians will stop at nothing to chip away access to safe and legal abortion.” (Source)
These laws aren’t about educating women or protecting their health, they’re about eroding a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion as far as lawmakers possibly can. North Carolina is also the same state that had passed an mandatory ultrasound law which was struck down last December by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. These aren’t politicians who care about smaller government when they pass laws that violate a woman’s right to reproductive health; nor are they politicians who care about fiscal responsibility when they spend taxpayer dollars to pass legislation like this, and then spend even more taxpayer dollars to defend the laws in court. Then again, we have nobody else to blame but ourselves when laws like these are passed if we failed to vote.
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