When the complexion of the North Carolina General Assembly
changed after the last election, pro-life Christians around the state expected
to see movement on some bills that have been languishing in the legislature for
years. Their hopes were not denied. Four key pieces of legislation passed both
House and Senate.
However, one of the most important of those bills was vetoed
June 27 by Gov. Beverly Perdue. In Perdue’s objections and veto message (available
at the General Assembly website), she said the Woman’s Right to Know bill “is a
dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between
women and their doctors.”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Ruth Samuelson, tweeted her
disappointment (@ruth_samuelson) by saying that North Carolina is now one of a
minority of states which do not require special informed consent for abortion.
Samuelson vowed to find votes to override the veto in next
month’s special legislative session. The bill is shy one vote each in the House
and the Senate.
The Legislative Research Office estimates this new law could
have saved eight babies from abortion every day in North Carolina.
That’s nearly 3,000 fewer abortions each year simply because
women are given more information and more time to consider alternatives.
Choose Life License Plate. This bill has been a true
perennial; sprouting for 10 years in the General Assembly and each year it has
been rejected or left languishing in a committee. It was among a long list of
specialty plates being considered this year including Stock Car Racing, Guilford
Battleground, First in Forestry, and Support our Troops.
But the Choose Life plate was the most
contentious. Amendment after amendment attempted to gut the bill or place
restrictions on it, but in the end it squeaked through the door just as the legislature
was about to adjourn. Why all the angst over a license plate design?
Perhaps it’s because a percentage of the income from the
plates goes to Pregnancy Resource Centers, which provide abortion alternatives.
- Unborn Victims of Violence Act/Ethen’s Law. The
opposition was intense for another pro-life bill designed to designate an
unborn child as a victim when the mother suffers from a violent act. However,
the bill passed and has been signed into law.
L.A. Williams, writing for the Christian Action League,
recounts testimony from Representative Edgar Starnes from Caldwell County, who
supported the bill.
“If it is a crime to kill an unborn deer in North Carolina,
it should be a crime to kill an unborn child,” he had earlier told the
body, describing a drunk driving case in his district some 25 years ago in
which a woman was hit head-on and lost her full-term baby as a result. When the
district attorney tried to charge the drunken driver with the death, the judge
dismissed the case because North Carolina law does not recognize unborn
children as worthy of protection. Starnes said that same year a hunter charged
with killing a doe out of season had his charges tripled when it was determined
the animal was carrying twin fawns.
- State Funds Cut to Planned Parenthood. Many news
stories have been cycled about the contentious budget battle between Perdue and
state lawmakers. Perdue vetoed the budget but legislators quickly retooled,
gathered a few more votes, and over-rode the veto. Lost in the scuffle was the
story that this budget successfully removed all state funding for Planned
Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. According to Planned
Parenthood, that cuts four percent or just over $434,000 per year from their
budget. The budget also prohibits coverage for elective abortions in government
health insurance policies, and repeals the state abortion fund.
Sign up for periodic updates on this bill and other
important issues of concern to N.C. Baptists on the Christian Life and Public
Affairs blog: clpablog.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Traci DeVette Griggs, Baptist State
Convention of North Carolina’s creative team leader and liaison to
Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee, wrote most of this report.
Biblical Recorder Assistant Managing Editor Dianna L. Cagle contributed.)