While we are not surprised anti-abortion lawmakers rammed through another inflammatory anti-abortion bill, we are disappointed that legislative leadership continues prioritizing bills that attack abortion access. People across North Carolina are facing multiple economic, racial justice, and healthcare crises. HB 453 does nothing to address the actual needs of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities or the needs of pregnant people and their families, nor does this bill combat the systemic racial discrimination Black and Brown North Carolinians face every day.
Anywhere from 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 North Carolinians who could be pregnant will have an abortion in their lifetime. Abortion is a normal part of healthcare and is a decision that should be left to individuals and their healthcare providers, not interfered with by politicians, which is what HB 453 does.
HB453 is another attempt to politicize abortion care, falsely equating individuals’ personal healthcare 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.
Arbitrary and political abortion bans have been making their way through state legislatures throughout the U.S. this year, and HB453 is part of that national anti-abortion playbook. In North Carolina, we need to expand Medicaid and ensure 600,000+ North Carolinians have quality healthcare (even more necessary during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), pass the NC Momnibus Act to reduce maternal and infant mortality especially for Black North Carolinians, and eliminate the over 15,000-person Medicaid Innovations Wavier waiting list for people with disabilities so they can have increased access to services. We don’t need more ideological restrictions on reproductive health care and abortion access.
Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy or to continue a pregnancy are best made by pregnant people, their families, and their healthcare providers. Bans on abortion based on the reason behind a person’s decision have never been about promoting equality or ending discrimination. These types of arbitrary bans, like HB 453, are simply part of a larger campaign to stigmatize abortion care and make it more difficult for people to access the essential healthcare they need.
We strongly urge Governor Cooper to veto HB 453!