The passage of the intentionally inflammatory anti-abortion bill HB 453 out of the North Carolina House yesterday, on the same day the Senate Health Committee voted to move forward another unnecessary and inflammatory anti-abortion bill (SB405), clearly demonstrates the priorities of legislative leadership this session—to further restrict access to reproductive healthcare until abortion is completely banned. Both HB 453 and SB 405 push false and dangerous narratives about who accesses abortion care and who provides that care, and imply that pregnant people, particularly Women of Color, can’t be trusted to make their own personal healthcare decisions.

Opponents of HB 453 rightly called out the language of HB 453 as racist, misogynistic, and misleading during the House floor debate yesterday, and they challenged bill supporters to examine their priorities during this time of prolonged economic, racial justice, and public health crises. During the Senate Health Committee hearing on SB 405, opponents reminded bill sponsors that this bill is no more necessary, nor its false scenarios any more true, than an almost identical bill that was vetoed and defeated in 2019. Both HB 453 and SB 405 disparage healthcare providers and their patients in an attempt to stigmatize abortion care, spread misinformation, and manipulate and intimidate people from seeking and providing needed care.

At NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, our stance has always been we trust that all people can make the best reproductive healthcare decisions for themselves and their families, and that as a society we owe it to all North Carolinians to provide the comprehensive, accurate, unbiased, and nonjudgmental information and care they need to make these decisions.

Both of these bills run counter to those values. HB 453 and SB 405 are continued attempts to control people’s personal decisions and further stigmatize abortion care, while doing nothing to address the complex and intersecting needs of pregnant people making these decisions. By forcing providers and patients to question each other’s motives, these bills will increase stigma and stress rather than providing care and comfort.

We urge lawmakers to examine their priorities and to commit to supporting North Carolinians’ right to access reproductive health care and justice. This includes access to abortion, and this also includes Medicaid expansion, access to paid sick leave, expanding access to childcare, protection from pregnancy discrimination on the job, and protection from police violence…all bills that could be passed by this legislature this session.

Disability rights advocates, physician and medical professional organizations, racial justice advocates, and reproductive rights, health, and justice organizations have spoken out against these bills. We know that like all proposed anti-abortion legislation, the main goal of these bills is to keep restricting access to abortion on the way to completely criminalizing all abortion care and punishing both doctors and patients for accessing abortion.

People making decisions about reproductive health care—including abortion—require comprehensive, honest, medically accurate, and compassionate conversations with their healthcare providers, something both of these bills would prevent. Pregnant people in North Carolina need less judgment and more compassion and support, and we strongly urge North Carolina lawmakers to vote against these bills.

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