Sorting Through What Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Means For NC

Jun 29, 2016
Originally published on June 30, 2016 3:15 pm

North Carolina passed an abortion law in 2013 with similar language to what the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this week in Texas. But the implementation has been different here.

One of the Texas provisions the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional was that abortion facilities must meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. (Think: mini hospital with expensive building and HVAC regulations.)

The nation's highest court ruled that requirement "provides few, if any health benefits for women" and is an undue burden on access.

In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers in 2013 authorized the state health department to apply any ambulatory surgical center requirement to abortion facilities. The state's next step was one that abortion rights advocates were pleased with, including Tara Romano.

"DHHS worked with advocates and people in the medical community to come up with those regulations," she says, "so they ended up not coming up with regulations that were as strict as what was in Texas."

Romano is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. She's not aware of any clinics here that closed because of the law. In Texas, more than half the clinics closed. 

North Carolina does have other abortion restrictions, like a 72-hour waiting period and a requirement for doctors to submit ultrasounds to the state for abortions after the 16th week of pregnancy. Those are not provisions the Supreme Court considered.

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