North Carolina could outlaw abortion after 13 weeks

Pro-life activists participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, January 22, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Republican North Carolina legislators have proposed a bill that could outlaw abortion after 13 weeks as New York State Democrats made headlines last month for passing a bill that allows abortion up to birth if the health of the mother is threatened.

"We need to work together towards eliminating abortion not expanding it to the point that we kill infants in the hospital beds," Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, who sponsored House Bill 28, said in a statement cited by WRAL last Thursday. "Lax laws have resulted in nothing short of genocide, so today we're here to send a message."

Kidwell told WRAL that because the U.S. Supreme Court won't decide when life begins, he wants to set it at "quickening," or the first fetal movements. North Carolina currently bans abortion after 20 weeks, except when the mother’s life or physical health is threatened.

If House Bill 28 is passed, the new law would go into effect on Dec. 1, 2019. The law would also make North Carolina the state with the earliest abortion ban in the U.S., according to Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Alison Kiser.

"This is a medically unnecessary and arbitrary cutoff to a woman's ability to access safe and legal abortion care," Kiser told WRAL.

North Carolina Republican legislators also proposed House Bill 22, which would require doctors to tell women that abortions induced by taking the drug mifepristone can be reversed halfway through.

Kiser argued, however, that the reversal isn’t supported by reliable science.

"To be clear, the proposed course of treatment in this bill has not been proven by any credible research or medical evidence to be effective or even safe," she told WRAL.

"This is just more of the same from anti-abortion legislators in North Carolina who will really stop at nothing to shame a woman's decision to end a pregnancy and whose ultimate aim is to ban all safe and legal abortion," Kiser added.

Contrary to Kiser's comments, many women have given birth to babies after initially taking an abortion pill. Heartbeat International has reported that hundreds of babies have been saved thanks to abortion pill reversal. 

While Republicans are working to protect unborn babies, top Democrats in North Carolina such as Rep. Graig Meyer, Sen. Jay Chaudhuri and Sen. Terry Van Duyn have already proposed legislation called the Whole Woman’s Health Act that would legalize abortions up to birth, as long as it is conducted by a physician, according to Longleaf Politics. The bill would reportedly remove the requirement that abortions be limited to medical emergencies after 20 weeks. The only requirement for a late-term abortion would be that a physician must carry out the procedure. Doctors would not be required to record a reason for an abortion after 20 weeks.

On Jan. 22, New York State legislators passed the Reproductive Health Act to codify federal abortion rights guaranteed under the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and remove abortion from the state's criminal code.

Shortly after that decision, Virginia Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran proposed a now tabled bill that would remove barriers to late-term abortions. Soon after, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia defended that bill with comments that some interpreted as support for infanticide.

In his State of the Union speech last Tuesday, President Donald Trump called out lawmakers in New York and  Virginia for their support of late-term abortion and urged Congress to enact a law against the practice.

“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth,” the president said.

“These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn— are made in the holy image of God.”

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