Pro-life North Carolinians have a lot to celebrate this week! Not only did a major pro-life bill become law, but a national report shows that North Carolina continues to outpace the nation and most states in declining abortion rates.
On Friday, Governor Pat McCrory quietly signed House Bill 465-Women’s and Children’s Protection Act of 2015 into law, making North Carolina the fourth state in the nation – after Utah, South Dakota, and Missouri – to require a 72-hour informed consent waiting period for abortion. In addition to extending the abortion waiting period from 24 to 72 hours, HB 465 also: requires annual inspections of abortion clinics; expands the information abortionists have to report to the state when they conduct an abortion after the 16th week of pregnancy; prohibits abortion clinics from employing individuals less than 18 years of age; requires physicians who perform abortions to be certified in obstetrics or gynecology or have significant training in this area; and makes other changes to further protect the safety and welfare of women and children.
The ink was barely dry on the Governor’s signature of HB 465 before news broke Sunday of a new Associated Press report that lists North Carolina among the top six states in the nation with the sharpest decline in abortion rates since 2010. According to the AP’s national survey, which used abortion data from 45 states, abortion rates have dropped by about 12 percent nationwide and in every state in the survey except for two. Perhaps the best news from the report is that North Carolina experienced a 26 percent drop in its abortion rate between 2010 and 2014, the second highest decline in the nation!
“The sharp decline in North Carolina’s abortion rate over the past several years is a testament to the tireless efforts of the pro-life community in our state, from pregnancy resource centers, to concerned citizens at the grassroots level, to courageous lawmakers in the State Legislature,” said John L. Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “This news should bolster our determination to continue to work to change hearts and minds about abortion and to implement policies that acknowledge and honor the sanctity of every human life.”
Nationally, the 12 percent decline in abortions between 2010 and 2014 coincides with an increase in state laws that restrict or regulate abortion during the same time period. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “more state restrictions on abortion were enacted between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade.” For example, 205 abortion restriction laws were enacted by states between 2011 and 2013, compared to 189 between 2000 and 2010.
North Carolina is one of 31 states to experience a flurry of pro-life legislative activity over the past few years. In 2011, lawmakers overrode then Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto to enact HB 854-Abortion-Woman’s Right to Know Act, the first pro-life legislation to pass the state legislature in over a decade. Then in 2013, lawmakers enacted SB 353-Health and Safety Law Changes, a landmark pro-life bill that instituted a number of provisions, including a ban on sex-selection abortions and additional restrictions on taxpayer funded abortions in the state.