Earlier today, North Carolina legislative champions, abortion rights advocates, and healthcare providers teamed up to announce the filing of a proactive reproductive rights bill—the “Remove Barriers to Gain Access to Abortion Act” (the RBG Act), House Bill 439 and Senate Bill 353.
Since Dobbs overturned Roe in June 2022, North Carolina has become a essential access point for abortion care as one of the few states in the southeast that still provides abortions. Despite that designation, we have numerous medically unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous restrictions on abortion enacted by anti-abortion lawmakers over the past ten years. The RBG Act takes aim at these restrictions in an effort to ensure all people who need abortion care in North Carolina can access it safely and with dignity.
HB 439 and SB 353 would eliminate these medically unnecessary and arbitrary restrictions that have limited access to reproductive healthcare in North Carolina for many years, including:
- Repeal the biased state-imposed “counseling” requirement and 72-hour forced delay before someone can access abortion care.
- Allow advanced care practitioners—such as Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Midwives—to provide abortions within their scope of practice.
- Remove special parental consent for abortion, to match other medical guidelines for minors’ medical rights.
- Eliminate the 20-week ban in North Carolina that was reinstated post-Dobbs in the summer of 2022 after a federal judge lifted a permanent injunction.
- Codify Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as the law in North Carolina, re-establishing a status quo supported by the majority of North Carolinians.
- Allow post-viability abortions for medical emergencies, putting the patient at the center of care.
- Repeal the ban on abortions provided via telemedicine.
- Repeal the insurance and funding bans that prohibit abortion coverage in private Affordable Care Act plans in North Carolina, the state employee health plan, local government employee health plans, and Medicaid.
The above restrictions are not about patient safety or best practices in healthcare—they are about putting medically unnecessary obstacles in the way of obtaining abortion care, with the goal of shaming, intimidating, and punishing people seeking and providing abortions. North Carolinians, and patients from surrounding states, need and deserve access to abortion and to comprehensive reproductive health care, governed by evidence-based, medically accurate, and patient-centered policies, not partisan politics and unpopular ideology. We applaud the introduction of the RBG Act and urge lawmakers to pass this bill into law!