Patience grew thin on Jones Street Thursday as amendments were denied and debate was limited in the Senate's second reading of House Bill 465, the not-at-all-Orwellian-titled “Women and Children’s Protection Act of 2015,”
which would extend the waiting period for women seeking abortions from 24 to 72 hours.
The bill, which has already cleared the House and today passed its second reading in the Senate by a 31-15 margin, would give North Carolina one of the longest waiting periods in the country, alongside Missouri, South Dakota and Utah. Twenty-six states, including North Carolina, have these sorts of waiting periods, which are, in essence, designed to get women to reconsider, because clearly they hadn’t thought things through before deciding to terminate their pregnancies. No, of course it’s not patriarchal and condescending, don’t be silly.
The bill would also require the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to annually inspect clinics where abortions are performed, along with requiring physicians performing abortions on or after the 16th week of pregnancy to send DHSS data on and ultrasound images of aborted fetuses, which the department would then amass in a database. The bill would also create a buffer for health care providers who object to abortion, a legal and constitutionally protected procedure, on moral or religious grounds.
State Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, D-8 counties in the state’s northeast
, proposed an amendment that would lower the 72-hour waiting period to 48. She said she saw it as a "reasonable compromise."
"By creating a 72-hour waiting period, we are not honoring the fact that women have brains," Smith-Ingram said. "I understand that the majority of us here are men, but you are trying to make a decision about something you are not. The 72 hours demotes us to second-class citizens."
Smith-Ingram's amendment failed, 14-33.
Several other critics argued that the bill was deliberately limiting access to safe abortions, which, well, yeah.
Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr.
, D-Durham and Granville, said the bill "limited women's rights to what they chose to do with their bodies. I feel as though this room would overturn Roe v. Wade
if it could, but since it can't, it will just continue to take away from women's rights."