The featured article, by The Honorable Paul Stam, J.D., provides a comprehensive legislative history of North Carolina's Woman's Right to Know Act of 2011. The Act requires informed consent and a mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period for abortion, thus protecting a woman's right to make an informed choice. Informed consent provisions and mandatory waiting periods give individuals making decisions the information and time necessary to make informed choices. The Act further provides that an ultrasound be performed and explained no less than four hours and no more than seventy-two hours before the abortion.
The article first provides a brief overview of sources of legislative history recognized in North Carolina. It then details the history of the Woman's Right to Know Act, from the first informed consent bill introduced in 1981, to the passage of the 2011 law, to the federal court case that followed. Finally it provides specific objections that were raised against the bill and responses to each.
Abortion continues to be a controversial issue in law and medicine. The law and practice of abortion directly affects parents with disabilities as well as unborn infants with disabilities. This article examines the rationale and legislative intent behind North Carolina's most recent attempt to regulate the practice of abortion in that state.
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