Abortion providers in North Carolina and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective filed litigation on September 3, 2020, challenging several medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that have pushed abortion out of reach in the state and stigmatized essential health care.
Decades of attacks on reproductive rights and health care access by state legislators have already led to provider shortages and inadequate public health infrastructure in the state, with the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbating these issues. The discriminatory policies violate civil and reproductive rights and disproportionately impact North Carolina’s communities of color, particularly Black communities, as well as rural communities.
The restrictions being challenged include:
- A licensing scheme that arbitrarily singles out abortion providers with medically unnecessary and onerous requirements
- A ban on qualified advanced practice clinicians (APCs), such as physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners, from providing abortions
- A ban on the use of telehealth for medication abortion
- A requirement that providers deliver state-mandated biased counseling with no medical benefit to their patients
- A mandatory delay for patients seeking an abortion of at least 72 hours after they receive state-mandated information.
The plaintiffs in the case are Planned Parenthood South Atlantic; SisterSong; A Woman’s Choice of Charlotte, Inc.; A Woman’s Choice of Greensboro, Inc.; A Woman’s Choice of Raleigh, Inc; three doctors; and one advanced practice clinician. They are represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.