North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue yesterday vetoed legislation that would have imposed a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, as well as require an ultrasound before the procedure. The law would have also required women to view and hear a description of the ultrasound, and it would require providers to give women printed information about risks associated with the procedure.
The pro-reproductive rights group NARAL said in a statement that the bill would have also “established extreme barriers to abortion care, including a 24-hour waiting period, a mandated ultrasound, and a requirement that physicians read women a script written by anti-choice politicians. It included no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.”
In contrast to Perdue’s action, governors in both Texas and Florida have signed legislation that requires an ultrasound before an abortion this year.
Texas law is currently under legal challenge because, much like North Carolina’s bill, it requires that doctors show and describe the images from the mandatory ultrasound to the woman, as well as play the sound of the fetal heartbeat before an abortion is administered. Texas law also imposes a 24-hour waiting period. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a class-action lawsuit against state officials earlier this month.
According to reporting by our sister site, The Texas Independent, the center claims the legislation “violates the First Amendment rights of both the doctor and the patient by ‘forcing physicians to deliver politically-motivated communications to women, regardless of their wishes.’”
The state of Florida has avoided legal challenges to its mandatory-ultrasound bill because it included an opt-out provision in its bill. In Florida, women can bypass a description or viewing of the ultrasound by signing a form. However, ultrasounds are still required, whether or not it is medically necessary, before every abortion.
NARAL reports that so far this year “anti-choice lawmakers have introduced 28 ultrasound-related bills in 14 states.” Before this session, there were already 21 states that had some sort of ultrasound legislation in place.