The NC Board of Elections is seeking public comment on 2 proposed rules regarding the implementation of the voter ID law until March 15th. Links and suggestions for input from Democracy NC are here. For other upcoming events, check the top of Monday's post.
Last week, we looked at the structure and (dys)function of the NC General Assembly (NCGA), NCGA 101. We noted that at the beginning of the session, there's usually a flood of bills being introduced, some of which are quite outrageous, and most of which will never become law. There ARE some bills that have caught the eye of our amazing researcher, Sheila Denn, who is tracking every bill introduced in the House & Senate and keeping a list of major bills we support and what we don't want to see the light of day. We'll look at a few of them today.
We've seen four bills attacking women's reproductive rights introduced so far, mirroring a national trend:
HB 22, (misnamed) Women's Right to Know/Ashley's Law. "This bill would require a physician to misinform a woman seeking a medical abortion that the procedure is reversible—something not supported by any scientific study. The so-called “reversal” procedure is successful in fewer than half of the cases and may be only slightly more effective than not following through with the second step of the two-step procedure. Long-term effects are not known." Triad NOW.
A similar, even more restrictive bill, HB 53, A Second Chance for Life, also has been filed. This version requires the physician, immediately after administering the first of two drugs, to provide the woman written misinformation about the reversibility of the procedure prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services. She would be required to sign a statement that she received the information, and the original would be permanently placed in her medical record.
- Both of these related bills passed a first reading in the House; HB 22 has been assigned next to the Judiciary Committee, HB 53 to the Health Committee.
- WRAL, GOP seeks new abortion restrictions
- Slate, Abortion reversal seems possible, but we shouldn't promote it
Two bills limiting abortion have been filed so far: HB 28, Prohibit Abortions After 13 Weeks, would be the most restrictive state law not blocked by court injunction. HB 54, Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment, would ban a safe and commonly used procedure called “dilation and extraction/D&E.” Both passed first reading; HB 28 is going to Judiciary Committee first, HB 54 is going to the Health Committee.
Some of these bills were introduced and went nowhere in 2017, but the atmosphere around restricting abortions has intensified since then, so we need to watch out for these.
As we said last week, the chances of killing a bill are greatest when it's in committee, so it's up to us to pay attention and speak up at the right time. For these women's rights bills, that time is NOW.