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Woman's Right to Know Act becomes North Carolina law: What happens now?
CHARLOTTE — By the slimmest of margins, both houses of the N.C. General Assembly voted to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto of the Woman's Right to Know Act in late July.
The measure, which goes into effect Oct. 1, requires abortionists to give women information that will allow them to make informed choices about the lives of their unborn children.
The vote to pass the legislation originally was largely along partisan lines and was not close. It was a different story on the override. Legislators in favor of the act needed to pick up one vote in each house for the bill to become law.
In the house, Rep. James Crawford, a Democrat from Vance and Granville counties, changed his vote against the bill and joined the push to override the governor's veto. The tally in the House was 72-47, exactly three-fifths as required to override.
In the state Senate, Sen. Stan Bingham of Davidson County, a Republican who originally voted against the bill, had an excused absence when the vote was taken on July 28. Sen. Richard Stevens of Cary was also absent. Those two absences meant that supporters of the override needed 29 votes. The final tally was 29-19 in favor of the override.
Within minutes of the vote, followers of the Catholic News Herald and the Catholic Voice NC Facebook pages got the message that the veto had been overridden. Catholic Voice North Carolina, the non-partisan public policy Web site of the state's two Catholic bishops, has tracked the vote of all legislators on this issue. Results can be found online at www.CatholicVoiceNC.org.
Beginning in October a woman who seeks an abortion will have to wait for 24 hours after first going to an abortion clinic. During that time, the doctor performing the abortion is required to:
-- Make available to the woman a real-time ultrasound with the sound of the heartbeat
-- Explain the medical risks of an abortion
-- Explain the medical risks of carrying the child to term
-- Reveal whether the abortionist has medical malpractice insurance
-- Tell the location of the nearest hospital.
-- Inform the woman if the abortionist does not have admitting privileges to the nearest hospital.
The new law also requires that women considering an abortion be given information about support for them and their unborn children during the pregnancy and after birth including:
-- State and federal assistance programs available for women and children
-- The fact that the father is liable to assist in the support of the child, even if he has offered to pay for the abortion
-- A signed document indicating that the woman has been given all of this information
Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh expressed thanks for the override.
Through Catholic Voice NC they sent an e-mail to nearly 4,000 registered participants, stating, "We would like to thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of life, and we would like to thank the legislators who originally voted in favor of this important act and those legislators who supported the override."
-- David Hains, Diocesan Director of Communication
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