Abortion

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The United States Supreme Court issued decisions this week in several high profile cases related to abortion restrictions and immigration regulations.

The high court also agreed to hear North Carolina's redistricting suit. Their decisions could affect voters in November.

New Laws In North Carolina

Jan 7, 2016
N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A new year means new laws on the books. The state now requires doctors performing abortions after the 16th week to send ultrasounds to state health officials. Supporters say it protects women’s health, but opponents say the law violates patient privacy and is meant to intimidate physicians.

Plus, when you head to the polls in March, you’ll now need a photo ID due to a law passed in 2013 that goes into effect this year. 

Photo: North Carolina license plates
Flickr User Eugena Ossi

Almost two dozen laws will go into effect on Jan. 1, impacting issues including health, transportation and firearm ownership in North Carolina.

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected North Carolina officials' appeal to revive a requirement that abortion providers perform, display and describe an ultrasound for a pregnant woman before she has an abortion.

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

The legislature considers controversial measures on gun regulations and magistrates performing same-sex marriages.

And Governor Pat McCrory says he will sign a bill that increases the waiting period for an abortion, a move that contradicts his campaign promise. 

Photo: Craig Johnson (left) and Shawn Long (center) with their son Isaiah Johnson.
Equality NC

North Carolina lawmakers pushed through two of the year’s most controversial measures on Wednesday afternoon, limiting debate and quickly ushering proposals that could reduce some same-sex couples’ access to marriage ceremonies and extend the waiting period for abortion procedures.

While House and Senate members debated in separate hearings, the measures over gay marriage and abortions are intertwined social issues that attract vigorous advocacy from conservative and liberal groups.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers passed nearly 100 bills in two days to meet this session's crossover deadline, the time when non-budgetary measures have to pass at least one chamber of the General Assembly to stay alive.  

Bills about the death penalty, education policy and environmental regulations are among those that still have legs.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia and WUNC education policy reporter Reema Khrais about the measures that survived or failed to meet the crossover deadline.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

A controversial bill that would have outlawed any state action that might burden one's exercise of religion is dead in the North Carolina House. 

Republican leaders said they are dropping the Religious Freedom Act to focus on legislation to boost the economy and create jobs.

House lawmakers also voted yesterday to extend the waiting period for abortions from one day to three. 

The Durham police department.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice has confirmed racial discrepancies when it comes to gun-related violence in Durham. 

 The report released yesterday shows that from 2009 to 2012, the homicide rate for young black men in Durham was eight times higher than the national average.

Photo: Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg)
Jorge Valencia

A pregnant woman seeking an abortion would be required to speak to a medical provider and wait for three days before she can have the procedure under a plan approved by a North Carolina legislative committee on Wednesday.

The proposed law, which got its first nod in a House of Representatives committee, would increase abortion wait time from one day and would require physicians to report information about the abortion to state health officials.
 

The House debated SB 353 today.
Screen Shot, WRAL Broadcast

Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to North Carolina abortion laws. A bill filed Wednesday would ban employees at state university medical schools from performing abortions and require a longer waiting period before the procedure is allowed.

The North Carolina General Assembly is back to work in Raleigh and lawmakers are filing dozens of bills.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

Attorney General Roy Cooper says he'll continue to criticize Republican policies during the legislative session that begins Wednesday, hinting once again hinting that he might run for governor in 2016.  
 

At a luncheon held by the women’s group Lillian's List, Cooper told a few hundred Democrats that he supports issues such as abortion rights and expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.

He hasn't announced his candidacy for governor, but he’s widely seen as the most likely Democrat to try to unseat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Renee Ellmers
http://beta.congress.gov/

Another battle over abortion regulations played out in Washington this week. This time, the conflict was within the Republican Party over a bill in the House that would have banned abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) led the opposition, but put her support behind a new measure that would cut all federal funding for the procedures.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina judge heard arguments about new proficiency standards for public schools. He's considering whether they meet the constitutional mandate of a "sound, basic education."

Flickr user Etolane

A North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to take a woman's sonogram and describe it to her in detail is unconstitutional because it violate's the woman's free speech rights, a U.S. appeals court said on Monday.

A three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously ruled that the state cannot require physicians to disseminate its message discouraging abortions. The ruling upholds a district judge's decision.

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

Dozens of people advocating for and against abortion rights filled a room at the North Carolina health department headquarters on Friday morning to respond to proposed rules that will apply to the 14 clinics that provide abortion in the state.

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

North Carolina health officials have proposed updating regulations governing clinics that provide abortions, in compliance with a 2013 law that requires them to be treated like outpatient surgery centers.

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond will hear oral arguments tomorrow over a North Carolina law that would require abortion providers to show patients an ultrasound and describe the image in detail.

The Republican-led state legislature passed the law back in 2011. It would require abortion providers to show their patients images of an embryo or fetus and describe them.

Six organizations quickly challenged the law, and U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles temporarily blocked the ultrasound requirement.

NCDOT

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments today on whether North Carolina can offer license plates with an anti-abortion message without making an alternative available to supporters of abortion rights.

The deliberations, set for the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Fourth District in Richmond, Va., center around the question: Does a license plate represent the speech of the state or of the driver carrying it on a vehicle?

Protesters take a stand for abortion and women's rights at a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

The Department of Health and Human Services found health code violations this summer at two North Carolina clinics that provide abortions. Now, one of them has closed for good, while the other has re-opened.

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill today that requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls, despite opposition from Attorney General Roy Cooper. In addition to requiring a form of photo ID for voters, the bill also shortens early voting by one week. Hours after he signed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the bill.

A woman advocates for abortion and reproductive rights at a Moral Mondays protest rally at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

Earlier this week, Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that would impose stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions.

Among other things, the law requires state health officials to develop more regulations that will govern the clinics. It also contains a clause in which health officials may issue temporary rules during that rule making process.

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

It seems like a long time ago, but it’s really been just seven months since newly-inaugurated Governor Pat McCrory sounded this hopeful tone:

“North Carolina’s greatest strength and asset remains its people,” he said during his inauguration speech.

“On those main streets across this state, it’s the people that count and that make a difference. People will come from different backgrounds but share a common set of principles. Self-starters and hard workers.”

Protesters take a stand for abortion and women's rights at a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

The North Carolina Legislature has passed new regulations for clinics that perform abortions. It was one of the final bills passed last night by the Senate.

On a day of contentious debates in both the Senate and House, arguments over the bill with the title “Motorcycle Safety Act” stood out as especially passionate.

NC General Assembly

One of the issues still to be decided by the North Carolina Legislature before it adjourns is whether to approve new rules that Republicans say would make abortion safer.

Democrats say abortions in the state are already very safe, and that the new provisions would lead to clinics closing.

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