North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban certain abortions in the state.
House Bill 453, which was introduced in the General Assembly this week, is known as the ‘Human Non-Discrimination and No Eugenics Act’. The bill aims to restrict women from getting abortions based on race, sex, or a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.
“Eugenics is defined as the study of how to arrange reproduction within a human population to increase the occurrence of heritable characteristics. In other words, characteristics that are desirable,” Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, an anti-abortion organization lobbying to pass the bill told WNCN-TV.
“Our goal here is to create a state where the state has a compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a modern-day tool of eugenics,” Fitzgerald continued.
What makes this bill different from measures being passed by other states is that it would require the doctor performing an abortion after the woman’s 16-week term to submit a report to the state with pictures, measurements, and the genetic makeup of the fetus. The doctor would then be required to sign the report under oath confirming the abortion was legal.
Pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood believe this is another attempt by anti-abortion supporters to discriminate against people of color and others seeking to have an abortion for medical reasons.
“This bill is just another part of the strategy we have seen over the past few years to chip away at abortion access in our state without, I might add, doing anything to address the underlying issues that anti-abortion politicians use to justify the bans including ableism, racism and gender inequality,” Susanna Birdsong, Director of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood to WNCN-TV.
Access to an abortion is limited in North Carolina with only nine clinics in the state’s 100 counties.
According to the latest data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), there were 28,450 abortions reported in 2019. 23,495 abortions were provided to residents, 4,955 were provided to people who traveled out of state, according to NCDHHS.
“I just want to underscore that this is a decision that one in four women in the U.S. will make by the time they’re in their 40s,” Birdsong said. “It is a common medical procedure, and bills like this further stigmatize it and put it out of reach.”
According to Planned Parenthood, North Carolina is considered to be one of the 11 “restricted” states when comes to abortion access. A majority of the neighboring states are ranked in an worsened condition for their services.