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June 10, 2021

The Honorable Roy Cooper
Governor of the State of North Carolina
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

Re: Veto Request - H.B. 453—Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics

Dear Governor Cooper,

I am writing to you today on behalf of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and our supporters across the state to urge you to veto H.B. 453. As an organization that both provides and advocates for access to reproductive health care, including abortion, we strongly oppose this bill and the impact it would have, for the following reasons.

H.B. 453 stigmatizes abortion care and compromises the doctor-patient relationship.

H.B. 453 would shame and stigmatize the people who provide and seek reproductive health care by banning abortions if sought for particular reasons, including the actual or presumed race of the fetus or a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. It would compromise the doctor-patient relationship by forcing doctors to scrutinize and second-guess their patients’ reasons for seeking an abortion. In a letter opposing the bill, the North Carolina section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that if enacted, “Clinicians would be prevented from being able to share accurate, up-to-date information [with their patients], creating an environment of fear and mistrust at a time when honesty and compassion could not be more vital.” Decisions about whether and when to continue a pregnancy or raise a child are best made by a pregnant person and her family, in consultation with a health care provider. Politicians should never force anyone to make a particular decision about reproduction, including forcing them to become a parent against their will, depriving them of the ability to become a parent, or interrogating their private decisions about pregnancy.

H.B. 453 is an unconstitutional ban on abortion.

H.B. 453 is an unconstitutional pre-viability ban on abortion, based on a pregnant person’s reason for seeking care. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the Constitution prohibits a state from enacting a law that bans abortion prior to the point in pregnancy when a fetus is viable. Just two years ago, in May 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case from Indiana in which the Seventh Circuit permanently enjoined a ban on abortion based on sex, race, national origin, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of a disability. By refusing to take the case, the Court left the Seventh Circuit decision in place. The Seventh Circuit held that the ban “clearly violate[s]” the “well-established Supreme Court precedent” that a state, while it may regulate abortion, “may not prohibit the woman from making  ‘the ultimate decision.’” “These provisions,” the court found, “are far greater than a substantial obstacle; they are absolute prohibitions on abortions prior to viability which the Supreme Court has clearly held cannot be imposed by the State.”

H.B. 453 does nothing to advance the rights of people of color or people with disabilities.

Contrary to the claims of the bill’s sponsors, H.B. 453 does nothing to promote equality for or prevent discrimination against people of color and people with Down syndrome. Disability Rights North Carolina opposes the bill for that very reason, noting in committee testimony that “forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term against their will does nothing to address discrimination against people with disabilities … [nor] does it address the real needs of people with Down syndrome.” To do that, we should be focusing instead on the true policy priorities of the directly impacted populations singled out in the bill. This includes ensuring adequate funding for Medicaid Innovations Waiver slots — a program designed to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities that currently has a more than 15,000 person waiting list in North Carolina. This also includes addressing racial disparities in pregnancy and childbirth outcomes for Black and Brown people and prioritizing bills like the North Carolina Momnibus Act (H.B. 507/S.B. 632).  

 

H.B. 453 does not address discrimination or the needs of people with Down syndrome. Nor does it intend to end racial discrimination in North Carolina. This bill a part of a larger campaign to pass as many laws as possible to gut the constitutional right to abortion care.  

We urge you to veto H.B. 453. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or would like further information.

Sincerely, 

Jenny Black
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic

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