North Carolina Governor Vetoes Informed Consent Law

On Monday, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed a measure designed to make more information readily available for women considering an abortion. The legislation includes a 24-hour waiting period, mandated access to ultrasound, and a list of important information abortion doctors are required to tell their patients.

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Governor Perdue defended her veto by arguing that the bill interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.

According to Reuters,

“This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

“The bill contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship.” [emphasis mine]

Upon reading the actual legislation, it is difficult to find the “extreme” interferences mentioned by Governor Perdue. Doctors are required to give essential information to their their patients. This includes:

  • The name of the doctor who will perform the abortion
  • The medical risks of the particular abortion
  • The probable gestational age of the unborn child
  • That ultrasound imaging and other printed information is available
  • That the woman has other alternatives to the abortion procedure such as adoption or keeping the baby
  • That the woman is free to withdraw her consent to the abortion at any time

Doctors are also required to perform an ultrasound on their patients and provide a medical description of the ultrasound images.

Do these requirements sound like the country’s “most extreme” interferences in the doctor-patient relationship? Doctors should give their patients basic information before performing any procedure. Patients have a right to know and weigh their options. The bill simply makes this standard procedure a requirement, thereby protecting women from the pressures or negligence of abortion providers. The North Carolina legislation is not the first of its kind either; twenty-five other states have adopted similar laws.

“Choice” is defined as “an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.” Letting a patient know her options is as pro-choice as it comes. And yet, the pro-abortion lobby continues to fight against laws like the one in North Carolina. The reason is obvious—these laws historically lead to reductions in the number of abortions. Live Action’s investigations have repeatedly shown that the primary concern of abortion providers is not to help women, but to sell abortion at whatever the cost.