On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in conjunction with Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, filed a lawsuit against a new North Carolina law that requires pregnant women to receive ultrasounds and be given information about the fetus before obtaining an abortion. The plaintiffs argue that it is unethical for healthcare providers to force patients to listen to “state-mandated ideological speech.”
According to officials from Planned Parenthood, the law acts as an invasion of patient privacy by forcing the patient to receive unnecessary information in an effort to influence their choices. “We believe – and work hard to ensure – that every woman has the information she needs to make the best decision for her and her circumstances,” said Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Policy of Planned Parenthood Health Systems. “But doctors shouldn’t be forced to subject their patients to information that they don’t want or need for the purpose of trying to shame them. This law violates the most basic principles of medical ethics.”
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue (D) vetoed the law in June, stating that it “contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship [between patients and their doctors].” However, the North Carolina General Assembly, which is led by Republicans for the first time in more than a century, voted to override her veto.
ACLU Press Release 9/29/11; the Washington Times 10/3/11