Members of the North Carolina state House Appropriations Committee engaged in a jaw-dropping debate on Thursday — to determine if it is better that children not be killed in an abortion or save the state money.
Lawmakers debated a bill the House Judiciary Subcommittee B recommended earlier this month on a 9-5 vote that broke along party lines. That panel approved legislation to make it so women are given information about abortion’s risks and alternatives they don’t normally receive from abortion clinics. The panel approved the Woman’s Right to Know bill, H 854, that other states have passed and that has been proven to reduce abortions. When women are given information about abortion that Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses don’t routinely provide, they frequently consider alternatives.
But, today, members of the appropriations committee debated a fiscal note legislative staff attached to the bill saying it would result in more than 2,900 births of children annually who may otherwise have become victims of abortion. The made the estimates based on similar legislation in Mississippi that resulted in abortion reductions and claimed the births would cost the state approximately $7 million a year in Medicaid expenses.
Rep. Burt Jones of Rockingham was incredulous and said, according to WRAL, that he couldn’t believe legislators were debating whether more abortions or more expenses were better.
“To me, it is incredible that we would even debate the idea that somehow we can improve the fiscal impact of this state by not allowing children to be born,” he said. “I’m a fiscal conservative, but if we’ve got to pay a little more money in this state because more children have the right to be born, then so be it.”
But Democratic Rep. Beverly Earle stood up for the save money side of the abortion debate.
“Most women have thought about having an abortion. It’s not something that I would think that they would take lightly,” she claimed. “I think it’s a true insult to women to imply or say that they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Committee chairman Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican, also responded to complaints from Democrats that the bill would cost money in terms of producing a web site to provide women information about pregnancy centers offering abortion alternatives, brochures to give to women, and the cost of other materials and staff time. He said money in the budget could cover the modest expenses.
He also countered the cost-saving claims by having fiscal staff look at the financial impact on the state of women who give birth following an abortion, because of the increased risk of birth defects associated with post-abortion subsequent births. Fiscal staff indicated that added costs for neonatal care, according to WRAP, would amount to $39 million annually — more than recovering the costs of the Medicaid expenses.
After the debate, the Appropriations Committee approved the bill 6-4, the radio station indicated.
North Carolina is one of 16 states that doesn’t require a waiting period and counseling before an abortion. The law would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child at least four hours before an abortion and abortion centers that don’t provide the information to women can be subject to a civil lawsuit.
In the first committee, AP indicates Sylinthia Stewart, 45, of Fayetteville, supported the bill because she had three abortions in four states and never got any information about how it would affect her and destroy the life of a unique human being.
“Black women need to be educated. We are the ones they are hiding the truth from. I am sorry about your circumstance, but that does not give anyone else the right to hide it from me,” said Stewart, who backed the measure. “This bill will protect black women. The women who actually have abortions need more information.”
During the committee hearing, according to the Asheville Citizen Times, Melissa Reed, the vice president for public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems in North Carolina, opposed the bill, as did Rep. Susan Fisher, a Democrat.
North Carolina Right to Life president Barb Holt says the pro-life group strongly supports the legislation.
“This bill will provide women considering abortion with all the facts to make an informed decision 24 hours before an abortion,” she explained. “It will also ensure that she can view the ultrasound of her unborn child. Many women who later regret their abortions say seeing the ultrasound would have helped them choose birth rather than abortion for their unborn children.”
Holt says the bill will also ensure better enforcement of the state’s parental involvement law because it would “close a loophole that allows minors to forge their parent’s signature without the abortion provider having to verify that the parent has actually signed the consent for abortion form.”
“Similar laws in other states have saved many thousands of unborn children from abortion and their mothers from making a decision many later regret. We have the opportunity to save thousands of lives in our state by passing this bill,” Holt says.
Holt indicates approximately 30,000 abortions are done annually in North Carolina and she believes there could be a few thousand less abortions after the law is enacted.
All bills must meet a June 9 crossover deadline by which they must be approved in one chamber of the legislature or they die for the session, which has Holt urging pro-life advocates to contact their state legislators today to urge support for the pro-life measure.
ACTION: Contact your legislators to urge support for the bill.