The NC Senate passed HB 854 Abortion - A Woman's Right to Know in a vote of 29-20 late this evening. The bill came to the Senate floor after being heard and passed during an early morning Senate Rules Committee meeting. Debate was brief, but opponents of the bill made their objections known. Perhaps the most moving comments were from Dr. Purcell (D-Scotland), a retired pediatrician who saw two women bleed to death after "coat hanger" abortions prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. Senator Purcell reminded the Senate that lives are at stake when you unnecessarily burden women's access to abortion. He concluded by adding women “will do it again if you make it almost impossible to access a safe abortion.” Senator Mansfield, also a physician argued that nowhere else in North Carolina history has the legislature come between a patient and a doctor in this way or directed a doctor on how to develop a relationship with a patient, even for more dangerous procedures than abortion.

Several Senators pointed out that HB 854, which would better be called the “Women Know Nothing” bill, insults the intelligence of women. Senator Kinnaird added that it is ironic that this bill is coming from the party that claims to want to get government out of people's private business. In the end, the bill passed with all the Democrats and one Republican, Senator Bingham (R-Davidson) voting against the bill. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk. The ACLU-NC strongly opposes this intrusive bill. Call the Governor today at 919-733-2391 and ask her to oppose HB 854.