At NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, our goal is to combat abortion stigma and foster a society of real and tangible support for whatever reproductive health care decisions people make, including terminating a pregnancy or carrying a pregnancy to term. HB453, which is being heard in the North Carolina House Health Committee this morning, is an attempt to control people’s personal decisions and further stigmatize abortion care, while doing nothing to address the complex and intersecting needs of pregnant people who are making decisions about their reproductive health with the support of their doctors and loved ones.
HB453 is another attempt to politicize abortion care, falsely equating individuals’ personal decisions with our state and country’s long and ugly history of eugenics and racist reproductive coercion. Labeling a patient’s personal choice to have an abortion as “eugenics” is intentionally inflammatory, particularly as we hear stories about immigrants, people who are incarcerated, and people with disabilities who are still being targeted for involuntary sterilization around the U.S. to this day.
Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy or to continue a pregnancy are best made by pregnant people, their families, and their health care providers. Bans on abortion based on the reason behind a person’s decision have never been about promoting equality or ending discrimination. Instead, these types of arbitrary bans are part of a larger campaign to stigmatize abortion care and make it more difficult for people to access the care they need.
As Dr. Jamila Perritt, President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and an OB/GYN says, “The bill proposed by the North Carolina legislature banning abortion based on the reason behind a person’s decision is part of a larger campaign in the state to stigmatize abortion care and create as many barriers as possible. Abortion is healthcare. Once someone decides to have an abortion, they should be able to access that care in a timely fashion with the support that they need. This means being free from judgement, free from barriers, and free from stigma. As an OB/GYN and provider of abortion care, I urge North Carolina legislators to support the comprehensive health care needs of their constituents, and that means ensuring access to abortion care.”
Those comprehensive needs also include Medicaid expansion, access to paid sick leave, and protection from discrimination and bias in employment, housing, education, health care, and policing. All of these needs are addressed in legislation that the General Assembly could pass right now if they were committed to prioritizing the health and safety of all people in the state. Instead they are fast tracking a bill to restrict people’s access to reproductive healthcare.
North Carolinians and their families making decisions about reproductive health care—including abortion—require comprehensive, honest, medically accurate, and compassionate conversations with their healthcare providers, something HB453 would prevent as it forces doctors and patients to be suspicious of each others’ motives. Pregnant people in North Carolina need less judgment and more compassion and support, and we urge lawmakers to vote against this bill.