Yesterday we learned the first dangerous anti-abortion bill was filed, HB533, which calls for a complete ban on abortion. While complete bans have been introduced in past sessions, this is the first one to be filed since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision overturned Roe, a ruling that removed the federal protections preventing states from completely banning abortion.
Since that time, 12 states have enacted near total bans, many more states have further restricted abortion access, and other states are introducing more and more extreme bans and restrictions. These political, arbitrary, and medically unnecessary bans and restrictions are causing chaos in healthcare systems around the country, with dangerous impacts reverberating beyond reproductive health care. While it is unlikely HB533 has the support needed to move through the North Carolina legislature, it never should have been filed in the first place. The fact that it was, confirms that we must remain vigilant if we are to protect abortion access in North Carolina. Yesterday’s bill was the first anti-abortion bill this session, and it likely won’t be the last.
Meanwhile, bills to expand abortion access–HB19/SB19 and SB353/HB439-were introduced but have not even been scheduled for a committee hearing.
In addition to this anti-abortion bill, the proposed House budget has again allocated tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to unaccountable anti-abortion centers that exist primarily to spread anti-abortion lies and misinformation, while shaming and intimidating people out of accessing abortion and other reproductive health care. North Carolina has an extremely high maternal mortality rate, above the national average, and we need to spend our healthcare dollars on evidence-based, medically accurate programs that improve the health of parents, infants, pregnant people, and families, not divert those funds to groups pushing anti-abortion agendas.
Not only is this a poor proposed use of our resources, but these anti-abortion centers spread disinformation that stigmatizes abortion and creates confusion among North Carolinians about abortion care, which then facilitates the filing and passage of anti-abortion bills built on inflammatory narratives. These anti-abortion centers are a key part of anti-abortionists’ work to end all access to abortion, and they should not be receiving state dollars.
Abortion is healthcare and it’s time our elected officials started treating it as that, rather than as a cynical political tool to score points for elections. We urge our elected officials at the North Carolina General Assembly to prioritize the healthcare needs of residents, not further ban abortion!