Insanely Creepy North Carolina Abortion Law Requires Doctors to Send Ultrasounds to the Government

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ultrasoundNorth Carolina bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and now Governor Pat McCrory (R) has signed a state law requiring doctors to send women’s ultrasounds to state officials.

According to The New York Times, The law requires doctors who perform abortions after 16 weeks to send ultrasounds as proof so the government can peruse them and make sure that they agree that the fetus was below the gestational age of 20 weeks. How in the holy hell is that not an egregious violation of patient privacy rights and an enormous HIPAA violation?

According to the Times:

“The law requires doctors who perform an abortion after the 16th week of pregnancy to send the State Department of Health and Human Services the method used to determine the “probable gestational age” of the fetus, the measurements used to support the assertion and, most controversially, an ultrasound showing the measurements. The provisions took effect Jan. 1.”

The determination of fetal age is not an exact science. My own fetus’ assessed gestational age swapped back and forth by a couple weeks in the early period, just because sometimes it was bigger and sometimes it was smaller. In the end my doctor just said, “Let’s just split the middle and give you a due date halfway between the two dates we guessed earlier.” So, that’s really precise stuff there. It’s unclear what, precisely, the government will do if the government officials assess a fetus’ age at having been over 20 weeks and the abortion provider says it was less than 20 weeks, but I can’t imagine it would be good.

“[The bill] should also act as a deterrent to the doctors themselves from lying about gestational age,” said Tami Fitzgerald, anti-abortion activist and executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, who consulted with the bill’s sponsors. She provided no known cases of a doctor ever having actually done that, but what are facts and invasive violations of women’s privacy when there are more barriers to safe and legal abortions that can be put up?

North Carolina also increased the mandatory waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours before a woman is allowed to get an abortion. In a 2012 election promise, McCrory vowed not to take any action to further restrict abortion in North Carolina, and his office bewilderingly maintains that he has kept that promise, insisting that this bill is “aimed at protecting women’s health by ensuring medical professionals use proper safety precautions, and this commitment is consistent with the governor’s pledge.”