RALEIGH, N.C. — The attorney general of North Carolina has decided to appeal a federal court ruling that recently struck down the state’s ultrasound abortion law despite his personal opposition to the requirement.
“While I oppose laws like this that force the state into women’s medical decisions, the state will appeal this ruling because legitimate constitutional questions remain that should be decided by a higher court,” Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement on Friday. “It is the duty of the Office of Attorney General to defend state laws regardless of whether I agree with them.”
As previously reported, lawmakers in North Carolina passed the Women’s Right to Know Act in 2011, which required women to obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion, and that the abortionist describe the child’s features to the mother, as well as offer the opportunity to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Other parts of the law included a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and that the woman be provided alternatives to abortion.
Then-Governor Beverly Purdue vetoed the legislation after it reached her desk, but was overruled by a majority vote.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America soon filed suit to block the law from going into effect. Last month, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles struck down the law as being unconstitutional, asserting that the regulation was “an impermissible attempt to compel [abortion] providers to deliver the state’s message in favor of childbirth and against abortion.”
“The Act requires providers to deliver the state’s message to women who take steps not to hear it and to women who will be harmed by receiving it with no legitimate purpose,” Eagles wrote. “Thus, it is overbroad, and it does not directly advance the state’s interests in reducing psychological harm to women or in increasing informed and voluntary consent.”
Following the decision, Republican Governor Pat McCrory said in a press release that he did not wish to appeal the matter, remarking that continuing the fight would be costly. McCrory also stated that he was satisfied that the majority of the abortion law was upheld, albeit without the ultrasound requirement.
“The heart of the legislation remains intact, and patients will still receive access to important information and ample time needed to make decisions,” he explained. “After extensive review, I do not believe costly and drawn out litigation should be continued concerning only one provision that was not upheld by the court.”
The North Carolina Values Commission then told the News Observer that they were thankful Cooper has decided to appeal the ruling despite McCrory’s disagreement, but said that the organization was disappointed with Cooper’s reasoning.
“We’re pleased the attorney general is going to appeal the decision, because Catherine Eagles got it wrong,”said Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald. “[But] it’s not interfering in a woman’s medical decision for the state to require a full description of medical information to give women all the facts and circumstances before undergoing a serious operation like abortion.”
However, many Christians believe that abortion should never be offered as an option, and therefore, there is no decision to be made other than to work to protect life at all costs.