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North Carolina House overrides veto on abortion waiting period bill

The North Carolina House of Representatives [official website] voted Tuesday to override a veto by Governor Beverly Perdue [official website] on legislation [HB 854 materials] that would require a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion [JURIST news archive]. With a 72-47 vote [News-Record report], the measure, known as the "Women's Right to Know Act," will now go to the Senate, which on Monday overrode [Charlotte Observer report] three additional Perdue vetoes. The abortion legislation would also require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of the fetus prior to the procedure. Supporters argue that the bill is necessary in order for women to be fully informed about their decision, but Perdue disagrees [press release; JURIST report], calling it "a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors." The legislation had originally passed the House 71-48 and the Senate 29-20.

The North Carolina government is one of several state legislatures to have acted recently to limit abortion rights. Both Texas and Florida [JURIST reports] have recently passed bills requiring ultrasounds before abortions. Last month, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas law [JURIST report]. In March, South Dakota passed a law requiring a three-day waiting period [JURIST report] before an abortion—the longest waiting period in the country. That law is also facing a court challenge [JURIST report]. Multiple states have acted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, when some studies suggest a fetus can begin feeling pain, including Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho [JURIST reports]

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