U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled yesterday that, at least for now, doctors will not have to perform an intrusive dog-and-pony show before performing abortions. Eagles, however, did leave one of the more egregious parts of the abortion-restriction law intact. Eagles temporarily blocked the part of the so-called Women’s Right To Know Act (which we renamed the Sluts Deserve Punishment Act) that required doctors to show the patient an ultrasound image, describe its various features, and ask her if she wants to hear the fetal heartbeat, if the fetus is developed enough at that point to have one. Another hearing will take place in December to decide if the judge’s injunction will be permanent.
Although the temporary block was greeted by women’s rights advocates around the state, Judge Eagles still left the rest of the law in place, including the requirement that the patient be given a list of agencies that "offer alternatives to abortion," such as "crisis pregnancy centers," or CPCs; these centers, as we’ve written before, and as was confirmed recently by an extensive study of CPCs in N.C., are largely little more than fake medical clinics where utterly unqualified people wear white lab coats as if they were doctors. The clinics are usually run by anti-abortion and/or religious groups, many of which have given women misleading or false information in order to keep them from having an abortion.
Eagles left in place the requirement that the state set up a website containing abortion-related materials; each of the separate materials "shall prominently display the following statement: 'The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique living human being.'" Which, again, is fine except for one crucial thing: Those are theological/philosophical theories, not provable scientific facts. So, although the most horrendous of the law’s parts has been blocked, at least temporarily, if you're a woman who has chosen to have an abortion in North Carolina, you are, as of today, legally bound to have the religious right's views spoon-fed to you whether you want to hear them or not.
As we’ve written before, I want to know how GOP legislators plan to keep a straight face the next time they describe themselves to voters as the party that “trusts people to make their own informed decisions without government intervention." If you had to pick anything that the GOP-led General Assembly passed as the grandest example of that party’s hypocrisy and repugnant pandering to the religious right, it’s the abortion-restriction law that goes into effect today.