The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday May 27th

Abortion bill targets UNC School of Medicine

House Bill 465, filed Wednesday, would prevent employees at the state’s two public medical schools — UNC and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine — from performing or supervising abortion procedures.

Jennifer James, spokeswoman for UNC Health Care, said the system and the school are reviewing the bill and its potential effects.

The national accrediting body for medical schools requires OB/GYN residents to be educated in performing abortion procedures, James said in an email.

“They further state that experience with management of complications of abortion must be provided to all residents,” she said.

She said UNC doesn’t currently use any state money to perform abortions.

Corey Frost, a UNC law student who’s part of UNC Feminist Students United, said he thinks the ban would likely affect a small number of UNC medical students.

But there is already a shortage of abortion providers nationwide and in North Carolina, Frost said — in part because doctors in the field often receive threats and deal with verbal and violent attacks from anti-abortion activists.

“The incentives are not there for students to learn how to perform abortions anyway, and this (bill) would just make it worse,” he said.

Cara Schumann, co-chairwoman of UNC’s Students United for Reproductive Justice, said she’s concerned that restricting abortion education would lead to fewer clinics, fewer abortion doctors and fewer options for women who need the procedure.

UNC’s OB/GYN residency is the top-ranked program in the South, James added. If the bill became law, she said it could have an impact on their recruitment of residents.

Other provisions in the bill would increase the waiting period before women could receive an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours and prevent doctors who aren’t licensed gynecologists or obstetricians from performing abortions.

The bill also requires doctors who perform abortions between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy to provide a detailed report to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, including an ultrasound, the “probable gestational age” and measurements of the fetus.

“I have no idea what that’s about and how it in any way protects women or improves women’s health,” Frost said.

Republican lawmakers have addressed abortion several times since taking control of the legislature in 2010 — including passing the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which required doctors to display and explain an ultrasound to a pregnant woman before she could receive an abortion. A legal case against it continues.

Gov. Pat McCrory ran in the 2012 election on a campaign promise not to enact further abortion restrictions, though he has already been tested during his tenure — particularly by a 2013 bill that attached stricter regulations for abortion clinics in the state to a motorcycle safety measure. McCrory eventually signed it into law.

On the latest abortion proposal, Schumann said SURJ will be aligning with Planned Parenthood to rally against the bill. She said she’s not surprised that the bill cropped up in the current legislature.

“From the moment we got a Republican majority and Pat McCrory became governor, again and again and again they have chipped away at abortion coverage,” she said. “It’s pretty heavy-handed control of our university system.”


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