Doctors urge NC lawmakers to oppose new abortion limits
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More than 1,000 health care providers across North Carolina have signed a letter urging lawmakers to oppose any additional abortion restrictions beyond the current 20-week limit, which some say already restricts their ability to care for patients.
While Republicans in the General Assembly have not yet filed legislation this year to further restrict abortion access, the GOP legislative leaders have repeatedly signaled their intention to do so.
Several physicians who wrote and signed the letter spoke Wednesday about how the existing ban already interferes with their work and puts patients at risk. Outside the Legislative Building in Raleigh, they called on Democrats to stand united against any new restrictions that Republicans — who hold a supermajority in the state Senate and are one seat shy of similar control in the House — might propose.
Dr. Alison Stuebe, a maternal-fetal medicine physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, described checking one patient’s lab results for several days before she became “sick enough” for an emergency abortion.
While the current law allows some leeway for urgent medical emergencies that threaten the patient’s life or “create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment,” it does not grant exceptions in cases of rape or incest. GOP leaders have said that they would consider expanding the exceptions.
“I want you to understand that when we ban abortion at any point in time,” Dr. Stuebe said, “we cause fear for clinicians and take us away from our fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for the patient in front of us.”