The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday September 30th

Supreme Court to hear abortion case

A group of students and activists gave a presentation on the past and current issues concerning reproductive rights in the state.

“North Carolina has a long and difficult history interacting with reproductive rights,” said Mars Ee, a local advocate.

“Despite this climate, we’re still able to have these conversations, and we’re still going to have these conversations.”

The group discussed reproductive rights issues in the state, such as underfunded Medicaid, denial of alternative family support and a failed abstinence-only education. The event also provided details of how to terminate a pregnancy and obtain resources in North Carolina.

And the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, might increase restrictions in the state, said Anise Simon, another spokesperson from the Carolina Abortion Fund.

The case challenges a Texas law that requires physicians who perform abortions to have hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinic. Clinics are also required to have the same facilities as a surgical center.

Critics of the law say it specifically targets abortion clinics to restrict access — since its implementation in 2013, the number of licensed abortion facilities has decreased from 41 to 18, according to a study released Tuesday by the University of Texas in Austin.

Chavi Koneru, a policy analyst at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and board director at N.C. Women United, said the restrictions are medically unnecessary.

“The requirements for the (clinic) building requires things like the size of the hallways, the size of the janitor closet,” Koneru said. “Ambulatory surgical care centers are like mini-hospitals and that’s not what abortion clinics are, so it doesn’t even make sense.”

But anti-abortion advocates applaud the law as protecting women from a potentially dangerous procedure. According to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 210 women in Texas must be hospitalized annually after seeking an abortion.

“If you have an abortionist out there that can’t meet basic medical standards, do we really want them performing abortions?” said Barbara Holt, president of N.C. Right to Life.

North Carolina, while it does require ultrasounds for some abortions and a 72-hour waiting period, does not currently require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges but that could change, Holt said.

“If this is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, this provision of HB 2 in Texas, then most likely our legislature may look at requiring the same in North Carolina,” she said.

But women without abortion access sometimes resort to more drastic measures. The UT-Austin study also found at least 100,000 women in Texas between ages 18 and 49 — or 1.7 percent of all women in Texas — have attempted a self-induced abortion.

Legislators might not need any medical justification to pass abortion restrictions if the case is upheld, Koneru said.

“It’s essentially like Roe v. Wade would have no impact anymore,” she said.


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