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North Carolina advances bill banning abortions based on race or Down syndrome
A bill that would outlaw abortion on the basis of race or Down syndrome advanced in North Carolina on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
North Carolina's House Health Committee approved the bill, which would fine doctors who performed abortions despite knowing the motivation behind the procedure aligned with either of those two factors.
The legislation is now being sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it's slated to be evaluated Wednesday.
Sponsors of the Republican-backed bill argue that selective abortions because of race or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are "discriminatory eugenic abortion."
"This bill is not a sham," said Julie Scott Emmons, a representative from the conservative N.C. Values Coalition, according to the AP. "It actually places a hedge of protection around an entire class of human beings who should not have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to be born."
Opponents of the legislation view it as yet another barrier to abortion rights.
"I find this bill discriminatory against pregnant women," State Rep. Verla Insko (D) said.
She added, "I cannot imagine anything that is more threatening than to have someone take control of my body. I would much prefer that we push birth control."
The legislation comes months after Democrats in the North Carolina House introduced the Remove Barriers and Gain Access to Abortion Act. The bill would lift abortion restrictions that several lawmakers argue disproportionately affect Black and low-income women, The Fayetteville Observer noted.
"The burdens placed on patients are political, paternalistic, and unacceptable," said Sen. Natasha Marcus (D), a Senate sponsor for the bill.