North Carolina lawmakers approve 72-hour abortion waiting period

North Carolina lawmakers approve 72-hour abortion waiting period

[JURIST] The North Carolina legislature [official website] gave final approval [roll call] on Wednesday to the Women and Children’s Protection Act of 2015 [bill, PDF], which mandates a 72-hour waiting period for abortions after a woman has been informed by a physician of her options and the risks of the procedure, except in the case of a medical emergency. The House and Senate, both controlled by Republicans since 2011, passed the bill with a wide enough margin to overturn a veto. Only Missouri, Utah and South Dakota currently have 72-hour [TIME report] waiting period requirements, and Oklahoma’s waiting period of that length goes into effect [JURIST report] this November. The bill also expanded the definition of statutory rape to include victims aged 15 or younger, requires doctors to supply the state with more data on second-trimester abortions and mandates all ambulatory surgical centers performing abortions must be inspected yearly. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [official website] has announced that he plans to sign the bill into law [press release].

Reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] remain controversial throughout the US. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] struck down [JURIST report] two parts of Idaho abortion laws-one which banned all abortions after 20 weeks, and one that required women seeking abortions in their second trimester to do so in a hospital. Also last month Tennessee adopted a law [JURIST report] that requires 48-hour waiting periods for women seeking an abortion. In April Alabama state representative Teri Collins proposed a bill to ban abortion [JURIST report] once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Also in April Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In March Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women that they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, in addition to barring women from buying any healthcare plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions.