On July 28, 2011, the N.C. Senate voted 29-19 to overturn Governor Perdue’s veto of a bill that increases abortion restrictions. Under this new law, a woman must obtain an ultrasound, receive state-mandated counseling, and wait 24-hours before aborting her child.
This vote adds more kindle to the fire of escalating political tension in Raleigh. After the Republican Party gained the majority in state congress, Governor Perdue has been dubbed the “Veto Governor” by conservatives like Neal Inman who noted that she has already vetoed more legislation than all previous N.C. governors combined. While Perdue’s approval ratings are still quite low, approximately 46% according to a poll conducted by the Civitas Institute in May 2011, her recent veto storm has increased her approval by liberal Democrats. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, speaking for Republicans, has accused Perdue of abandoning her campaign promises in a desperate move to cater to special interests groups.
Perdue defended her veto of the abortion bill by stating that it interferes with the patient-doctor relationship. Some www.newsobserver.com commenters blamed the override on Christian radicals while other commenters said that the abortion issue has nothing to do with religion. Lynn Bonner, staff writer for www.newsobserver.com, reported that Republicans who support the bill claim that it merely provides women with more information.
Ultrasound technology is useful for confirming the size, age, location, and well-being of the fetus. Statistics collected by both abortion clinics and pro-life pregnancy medical clinics indicate that most women in crisis pregnancy situations will opt to receive an ultrasound if given the opportunity. Each group disagrees on how this image impacts the mother’s decision to have an abortion. In the article, “Can Ultrasound Change Minds and Hearts in Abortion Debate?” Dave Bohon quoted Diane Derzis who runs an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama where women are required to have an ultrasound before receiving an abortion as saying, ““I’ve never had one patient get off the table because she saw what her fetus looks like.”
Staff and volunteers at pro-life pregnancy medical centers claim that ultrasound technology makes a dramatic difference in a woman’s decision making process. Raleigh resident, Sabrina, was planning on having an abortion when she came to LifeCare Pregnancy Center (now closed) in Raleigh, NC for a pregnancy test. During her visit, she was given an ultrasound and was surprised to find out that she was carrying twins. The thought of taking not just one life, but two lives deeply affected her. Seeing the ultrasound image of those twins helped her realize that the decision to abort was not simply about exercising her right to do what she wanted with her body, but it also involved the right to life possessed by the babies growing inside her. She chose to carry the babies to term. LifeCare Pregnancy Center provided her with counseling, loving care, car seats, and other basic needs. Sabrina and the father of those twins are now married and are fully enjoying life with their twin daughters.
The leadership at Focus on the Family believes so strongly in the benefit of ultrasound technology that they have established the Option Ultrasound Program which provides pregnancy medical centers with funding for 80 percent of the cost of a new sonogram machine or sonography training for medical personnel. Because of generous contributions by Christian supporters, pregnancy medical centers across the country can provide pregnancy testing, counseling and ultrasound services for free. These centers also provide material, emotional and spiritual support throughout the duration of a woman’s pregnancy. Optionline.org provides a list of fully equipped pregnancy medical centers. Birthchoice of Raleigh is one such center in Raleigh, NC.