North Carolina lawmakers to debate new abortion restrictions

RALEIGH, N.C. — Another effort by North Carolina Republicans to narrow the situations in which abortion is legal in the state is set to be debated in a legislative committee.

The House Health Committee planned Tuesday to discuss and vote on a measure that would bar a physician from performing an abortion if the doctor knows the pregnant woman wanted the procedure due to the fetus’ race or the detection of the presence of Down syndrome.

The physician could be subject to monetary damages if the procedure occurred anyway.

Bill sponsors say procedures performed based on race or Down syndrome amount to “discriminatory eugenic abortion.” The legislature in 2013 passed a law prohibiting sex-selective abortions — those based upon whether the fetus is male or female.

The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice NC opposes the bill, calling it an effort to stigmatize abortion care that has nothing to do with ending discrimination.