North Carolina House passes bill to increase waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours

HB 465 moves to the Senate where it is expected to pass

By Dave Andrusko

North Carolina State Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

North Carolina State Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

A day after a passionate debate the North Carolina House of Representatives today increased the time women will have to reflect on whether to have an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

The vote was 74-25. HB 465 now moves to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

Three other states–Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah–have a 72 hour waiting period between the time a woman goes in to see the abortionist and when/if she has the abortion.

On Wednesday, the House Health Committee approved the measure 20-10. During the debate, 10 of the 11 women lawmakers heard from supported HB 465.

Dr. Melinda Snyder said many women feel coerced into having an abortion, according to Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer. “I’ve never known an (abortion) that couldn’t wait for a few hours,” she said. “It’s an irrevocable decision.”

Morrill also reported that

Elena Smith told lawmakers she was at a clinic, prepared for an abortion, when she decided to wait and have an ultrasound.

“If I had not waited … my son Christian would not be here today,” she said. “And neither would his two beautiful sisters.”

“The poorest decisions that we make are the ones we make under pressure and on impulse,” said sponsor State Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer. “We want women to be equipped with the right information as they are going to make that decision.”

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melissa Reed spoke to reporters after the hearing Wednesday, calling the hearing “a total sham.”

House Bill 465 would also requires that when abortionists perform an abortion during the last two weeks allowed by law, they must “send ultrasounds, measurements and all other information to the state Department of Health and Human Services,” according to Laura Leslie of WRAL-TV.

“The point,” said Schaffer, “is to make sure the physician is abiding by the law,” which bans abortions after 20 weeks.