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NC "Woman's Right to Know Act" Takes Effect Wednesday

October 25, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - On Wednesday, the Woman's Right to Know Act takes effect in North Carolina. The law mandates a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion, among other changes. It also requires that the state create a website to refer women to crisis pregnancy centers.

However, a new investigation has found many of these centers are disseminating false medical information to North Carolina women as they consider their options in an unexpected pregnancy.

Carey Pope, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, the group that conducted the investigation, says that is just not right.

"Regardless of how you feel about the question of legal abortion, women should never be misled when seeking information at such a critical time in life."

The report found that more than two-thirds of North Carolina's crisis pregnancy centers provided inaccurate medical information, and 61 of the 66 facilities investigated did not report having any medically-trained or medically-supervised personnel on staff. In addition, 32 of the centers will receive funding from the "Choose Life" license plate program.

Pope says her researchers conducted site visits and found the centers' non-medical staffers wearing white lab coats inside the facilities. She says they also found no regulations in place to ensure that women's confidentiality is protected, since the HIPAA medical privacy laws don't apply to crisis pregnancy centers.

"Most of the women are not aware of an anti-choice ideology, so they're going, thinking that they're going to get all of their options, and they're actually getting a very biased agenda."

The state's network of anti-abortion clinics counters the findings of the report and says it works hard to provide information to women.

The NARAL investigation took place over the course of 10 months.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC