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A disproportionate impact

by Jordan Green

Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed House Bill 854, or the Woman’s Right to Know Act, on Monday. She should be applauded for her action. The bill would require a 24-hour waiting period and the informed consent of a woman before an abortion can be performed in the state. The definition of “informed consent,” as outlined in the bill, is lengthy and cumbersome for physicians and medical professionals. It includes making available to the pregnant woman a real-time view of the unborn child and the opportunity to listen to the sound of the child’s heartbeat.

The bill states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the displayed images or from refusing to hear the simultaneous explanation and medical description.”

Republican legislators are now granting women the legal permission to have free will. That’s mighty big of them.

There is no exception provided for victims of rape or incest in the bill. The legislation is extremely intrusive, bringing the state government into the doctor’s examining room, and making it clear that state Republicans don’t trust women can make wise decisions about their own bodies.

House Bill 854 is merely the latest in a series of bills and measures passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that disproportionately and adversely affects women.

Earlier this month, the NC General Assembly completed an override of Perdue’s historic budget veto, which will lead to thousands of job losses in education. The majority of teachers and teaching assistants in North Carolina are women.

Last week, Perdue vetoed the voter ID bill, which disproportionately impacts the right of women to vote. David Parker, chairman of the state Democratic Party, pointed out that elderly people in retirement homes or assisted living facilities and newly married women will be two groups hard hit by the voter ID bill. Since women typically outlive men, the majority of seniors in the state are women.

Parker pointed out that the GOP budget eliminated funding for any new North Carolina Teaching Fellows scholarships — a successful scholarship program to recruit and get high school graduates to become teachers. The majority of scholarship winners are young women. The budget also included a 20 percent across-the-board cut to Smart Start, which benefits thousands of single mothers across the state.

It appears the state GOP wants to repeal the 20 th century and therefore deny the advancements women have achieved over the past century, Parker said.

Currently, Perdue has scores of bills lying on her desk awaiting either her signature or a veto stamp. Hopefully, Perdue will continue to reject any bill that takes away the precious rights women have worked so hard to attain after years of struggle and sacrifice.

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