Under the Dome

Texas abortion case echoes NC efforts

The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement Friday that it will take up a Texas case restricting abortions has shades of North Carolina in it.

Legislators in this state in recent years have tried to enact the two provisions that are the legal issues in the Texas case: requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and requiring abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as same-day surgery centers.

Neither of those provisions survived in bills that became law in North Carolina, although a string of controversial new requirements limiting access to abortions have been enacted.

Planned Parenthood in this state has been fighting a losing battle in the General Assembly but chalking up victories in the courts. This summer, the national organization has been clobbered with bad publicity and renewed efforts to defund it – a tactic also used in North Carolina.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic recently released the results of a poll in hopes of showing Republican legislators in North Carolina who voted to defund two of the organization’s teenage pregnancy prevention programs are out of step with the rest of the state.

According to the group, 48 percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood funding, and 39 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who would end the funding.

The survey was taken by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling over two days in October of 737 respondents. The method or margin of error were not released.

“It’s clear, North Carolina voters believe legislators that target Planned Parenthood and women’s health are out of touch with their constituents who do not support playing politics with women’s health,” Melissa Reed, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, the political arm of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement.

In response to the Supreme Court announcement, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a statement saying polls consistently show a majority support abortion rights. She cited recent Bloomberg Politics and VOX/PerryUndem national polls.

Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also issued a statement Friday:

"States have both the right and the duty to protect women from substandard practices in any aspect of their health care. That's what this is about -- meeting basic health and safety standards. Abortionists have had over four decades to clean up their act. They haven't, and that's because they can't. If people complain that the Texas law will force these facilities to close, that proves our point, not theirs.”