Informed Consent Website Launched
Special Report - November 1, 2011
As part of the recently-enacted Woman’s Right to Know Act, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has launched a website dedicated to providing pregnant women who seek abortions with complete and accurate information. The website, which is housed in the Women’s and Children’s Health Section of the NCDHHS website, provides information on several relevant topics, including:
- Abortion methods and associated medical risks,
- Possible adverse psychological effects of abortion,
- Medical risks of carrying a pregnancy to term,
- Probable gestational age of the fetus at the time the abortion is to be performed,
- Public and private agencies and services available to assist the woman through pregnancy, at childbirth and when the child is dependent,
- Information on free ultrasounds.
A comprehensive educational handbook, which provides information “about the normal development of a fetus, about abortion methods and about the risks of both abortion and childbirth,” has also been developed and is available for download, or can be ordered online. It encourages women “to seek information on abortion services, alternatives to abortion, including adoption, and resources available to postpartum mothers.” The handbook directs women to a directory of “public and private agencies and services available to assist [women] before and through pregnancy, upon childbirth and while the child is dependent.” These agencies and offices can help women “find out about alternatives to abortion, locate assistance to make an adoption plan for [their] baby, and identify public and private agencies that offer medical and financial help during pregnancy, childbirth and while [they] are raising a child.”
The Woman’s Right to Know Act became law in late July when both chambers in the General Assembly secured the necessary three-fifths majority votes required to override Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of the bill. During the Legislature’s consideration of the bill, legislative staff estimated that nearly 3,000 lives would be saved because of the measure’s requirements to provide women with more and accurate information about abortion, and to require a waiting period before a woman may procure an abortion. One of the provisions in the bill directed NCHDDS to develop a list of agencies and services available to assist pregnant women, as well as printed information on fetal development, abortion procedures, and the risks of both abortion and carrying a pregnancy to term. With the bill’s passage, North Carolina joined half of the nation’s states that require counseling and a waiting period to obtain an abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 15 states lack any requirement for specialized counseling before an abortion.
Last week, a judge temporarily halted a portion of the law that would require an ultrasound and the presentation of certain information relating to the ultrasound to a woman before she could procure an abortion from going into effect while a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenging the constitutionality of the law is considered.
“The Woman’s Right to Know Act is an important law,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “We encourage churches and other organizations that are involved in counseling to make sure their staff and members are aware of this new website, as well as information that is made available by local pregnancy resource centers. Getting the correct information to women who may be considering an abortion has the potential to save thousands of innocent lives in North Carolina each and every year.”
Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Temporarily Blocked - October 26, 2011
Informed Consent Law Challenged - February 16, 2011
Senate Overrides Abortion Bill Veto - July 29, 2011
House Overrides Informed Consent Veto - July 27, 2011
Governor Vetoes Informed Consent - June 28, 2011
Standing for Life as Session Ends - June 18, 2011
Copyright © 2011. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.