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North Carolina mandates ultrasounds to prove 20-week abortion ban compliance

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Controversy is brewing in North Carolina over its new requirement that abortionists submit ultrasound images to state officials after every abortion at 16 weeks or later to prove they are not violating the state’s 20-week limit on legal elective abortions.

The bill, which took effect on January 1 and was signed into law last year by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, also requires abortionists to provide the state health department with the methodology used to determine gestational age and measurements of the fetus. Louisiana and Oklahoma also require ultrasounds to be submitted.

Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic director Melissa Reed denounced the measure as a “medically unnecessary and purely politically driven” attempt “to shame women and intimidate the doctors that care for them.” Planned Parenthood is collecting petition signatures against the law and has also raised fears of the information being publicized. However, the law also requires potentially identifying information about the mother be removed from the ultrasounds before sending them.

North Carolina Values Coalition executive director Tami Fitzgerald expressed hope that the law would “act as a deterrent to the doctors themselves from lying about gestational age.” A number of abortion clinics across the country have been found attempting to evade legal requirements in the past several months, including three Florida Planned Parenthoods performing second-trimester abortions without the proper licensing, a Georgia Planned Parenthood engaged in an array of health violations, and multiple safety violations at West Alabama Women’s Center.

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