Sex-selective abortion ban OK'd by NC House panel - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Sex-selective abortion ban OK'd by NC House panel

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Doctors could face fines of $10,000 or more for performing an abortion that was requested because of the gender of the fetus, under Republican-backed legislation that won approval Wednesday in a North Carolina House committee.
    
A majority on a House judiciary panel sent to the full House a measure prohibiting what are called sex-selective abortions. It marks the first real activity on abortion rules since 2011 when a new Republican majority at the General Assembly passed new limits on the procedure over the objections of then-Gov. Beverly Perdue. Some of that law was struck down by a federal court.
    
Sponsors of the new bill said they believe more legislators could get behind a bill that would prohibit a medical provider from "knowingly or recklessly" performing an abortion when the child's sex is a "significant factor" in a pregnant woman's request for the procedure.
    
"It will keep abortion legal. It will keep abortion safe," said Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, the chief sponsor of this bill and the 2011 restrictions. "It will just no longer be discriminatory."
    
Abortion rights supporters accused bill sponsors of bias against pregnant woman dealing with a painful decision about carrying to term and of stigmatizing immigrants from countries where the low status of women triggers gender-selective abortions.
    
"This bill is a bill that discriminates specifically against Asian American women," said Milan Pham, representing the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.
    
The United Nations has raised concerns about gender bias in favor of boys in parts of Asia that leads to abortions of female fetuses.
    
The problem in other countries is deeply rooted in gender inequity and abortion bans are ineffective in changing that, said Jina Dhillon, president of North Carolina Women United. She told the committee the bill attempts to cloak the ultimate goal of sponsors to end all abortions. Instead, said Dhillon, who describes herself as south Asian, "my elected officials are perpetuating stereotypes about Asian women."
    
Lawmakers should address racial disparities in health care, equal pay initiatives and domestic violence if they wish to solve the root of gender discrimination, Pham and others said.
    
Five states have sex-selective abortion bans, according to Barbara Holt with North Carolina Right to Life.
    
The bill's sponsors provided no evidence the practice is a problem in North Carolina, but Samuelson said bills have been filed in the past about sex discrimination in education and employment in North Carolina. "I would level the question that why wouldn't there be sex discrimination in abortion," she said.
    
Samuelson said the bill is no way "intended to discriminate against immigrants" and said she and her husband adopted their daughter "from a country where women were not favored."
    
The bill would allow the woman who received the abortion or the woman's spouse, parent, guardian or health care provider to sue the abortion provider. A judge could hold the doctor in contempt and fine the physician $10,000 for the first violation and $100,000 on the third and subsequent violations.
    
"This bill is about preventing discrimination in the womb, and affirming discrimination based on sex is not acceptable in this state," said Tami Fitzgerald, head of the conservative North Carolina Values Coalition. "There is nothing pro-woman about killing a baby girl simply because she is a female and putting her mother's health at risk in the process."
    
Physicians who perform abortions or treat women in high-risk pregnancies told the panel the restrictions would make both doctors and patients reluctant to speak frankly for fear of litigation and fines.
    
Dr. Joshua Nitsche of Winston-Salem said a woman may need to abort her fetus to protect her own health, but "a passing comment like 'I always wanted a girl,' could force me to refuse her this life-saving procedure or risk fines up to $100,000."
    
"I'm not sure what steps I would need to take in order to comply with this law," said Dr. Erika Levi, a Chapel Hill OB-GYN who performs abortions.
    
The bill passed on a voice vote, with two Democrats voting no. One of the Democrats, Rep. Deborah Ross of Wake County, unsuccessfully offered amendments narrowing the scope of the bill.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-07-21 15:33:26 GMT
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
  • Birmingham man's penis amputated during circumcision, according to Jefferson County lawsuit

    Birmingham man's penis amputated during circumcision, according to Jefferson County lawsuit

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:39:17 GMT
    The man says he was not warned that a circumcision procedure could lead to a penis amputation.
    The man says he was not warned that a circumcision procedure could lead to a penis amputation.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:40:30 GMT
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • VIRAL VIDEO: If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    The video says it all.
    The video says it all.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.