North Carolina Approves Bill Falsely Claiming Abortion Causes Pre-Term Birth (UPDATED)


UPDATE, June 27, 2:15 p.pm EST: SB 132 has now passed both chambers of the state legislature and is heading to the governor for signature.

A contentious bill that would require health teachers to inform seventh-grade students that abortion—along with smoking, drinking, drug use, and lack of prenatal care—can affect carrying a pregnancy to full term, passed a first reading in the North Carolina house Wednesday. Although the abortion claim has no basis in medical fact, 73 state senators voted in favor of it.

The bill is an amended version of SB 132, which in its original form required teachers of seventh-grade health classes to tell students that abortion causes preterm birth; the new version lists abortion as a potential cause of preterm birth along with risk factors like drug and alcohol use. As Paige Johnson, vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, told RH Reality Check in early May when the bill was first introduced, there is “not a single national medical organization [that] recognizes a causal link between abortion and preterm birth.”

“This is nothing but a feel-good bill. It talks but doesn’t actually do anything,” said state Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake), according to WRAL.com. “It tries to scare women, both young and old, in the decisions they make about their bodies.”

Rep. Martin is one of 44 state representatives who opposed the bill in what at some points was an emotional debate over privacy, health, the age appropriateness of the bill. and “bad personal choices,” according to some who witnessed it. However, the transcript of the proceedings will not be available; although one lawmaker who opposed the bill requested the debate be transcribed, he was thwarted by another colleague who supported the bill.

The bill is expected to receive a final vote in the house this week before going back to the senate for a final vote. If it is approved in both chambers, it would head to the the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who promised when he ran for governor in 2012 that he would not sign any abortion restrictions into law.

It’s a promise that Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, told the News Observer she intends to hold him to. “I want to be very clear here,” she said. “We will consider anything less than a veto of legislation aimed at limiting access to abortion care as a breach of that promise.”

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  • J Rae

    In other news, North Carolina passes a bill to stop serving milk with lunches. Only Rondo wll be the allowed beverage.

    • goatini

      I think you meant “Brawndo”

  • fiona64

    How ridiculous. Abortion is no more likely to cause pre-term birth than a miscarriage. Then again, the anti-choice are not well-known for letting facts get in the way of anything.

  • S1AMER

    Yeah, that’s what America’s kids need — less science, more lies.

  • Amber DeJong

    Maybe I’m just being blonde, but isn’t “preterm birth” kind of the point of an abortion? What am I missing here?

    • Kaley Eryn

      It means pre-term births later. As in, if you get an abortion now, you won’t be able to have babies later. That kind of lovely scare tactic.

      • Amber DeJong

        Ah yes, my mistake thank you for explaining it.

  • Heather Ferris

    “Although the claim has no basis in medical fact, 73 state senators voted in favor of it.”

    Ladies and gentlemen – our GOP.

  • LiberalConservationist

    I know several of the comments are being sarcastic, but this one is not…
    These same Teathuglicans just became the first state politicians to cut off unemployment benefits, they voted to quit accepting federal funds to help out their citizens when they need it most… Incidentally they also voted NOT to extend Medicaid under the new healthcare act, because they want “Obamacare” to fail. This ignorant decision will cost their state billions! Time to vote these uncaring jerks out!

  • Guest

    We set new records for voter turnout in 2014, we can not allow a repeat of 2010!
    We must make the GOP pay at the polls with record setting losses. America can not allow the John Birch Society to get their corporatist and theocratic policies into law.

  • Kelly Cowan

    We must set new records for voter turnout in 2014, we can not allow a repeat of 2010!
    We must make the GOP pay at the polls with record setting losses. America can not allow the John Birch Society to get their corporatist and theocratic policies into law.

  • josh

    In other news, the North carolina legislature passes a new law stating that Earth is in fact the center of the universe, correcting decades of incorrect, scientifically based data citing new evidence, “I was told by God that science had it wrong and that Earth is in the center of the universe.” They also passed a bill outlawing the scientific method. More on this tomorrow….

  • Susan Weber

    How low can the GOP go? Shame on anyone that votes for this party.