The North Carolina Senate Health Committee passed a bill yesterday that would require that students are told that having an abortion is a significant risk factor for later pre-term births. The measure now heads to the floor of the state Senate.
Senate Bill 132 [PDF] requires that seventh grade students be taught that abortion is one of the significant risk factors that could cause a woman to have pre-mature deliveries later in life as part of the state’s sex ed program. Much of the debate surrounding the bill centers around the validity of scientific studies that suggest a connection. UNC School of Medicine Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. David Grimes questioned the committee, “The World Health Organization, the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Public Health Association all have uniformly concluded that abortion does not cause prematurity. How did they all get it wrong?”
Senator Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) proposed an amendment that would remove the provision about abortion. “The information is out there,” she said. “We can use whatever we want to justify why we want to do these things, but I think that we need to make sure the teachers teach what they are able to teach and educated to teach, and not go into other areas that they are not professionally educated to do.” The chairman Senator Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine) declared that the amendment failed after a voice vote. In a final voice vote on the bill, Senator Hise declared that the measure passed and did not call for a hand vote requested by Democrats, citing time constraints.
This comes the day after the North Carolina House of Representatives rejected a bill that would require minors to get parental consent for STI treatment, including HIV/AIDS care, and pregnancy care, including abortion, prenatal care, or even in clinic pregnancy testing. This bill was referred back to committee for revisions.