There's a Scary New Abortion Requirement in North Carolina

It's straight out of a dystopian novel.

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A new abortion requirement is causing controversy in North Carolina. The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, requires doctors who perform abortions after the 16th week of pregnancy to send an ultrasound to state officials, reports the New York Times.

Women in North Carolina aren't legally allowed to get abortions after 20 weeks (with medical exceptions). Proponents of this new law say it will ensure doctors aren't performing illegal abortions after that 20-week mark by making them send the ultrasound along with an estimate of "probable gestational age" to the State Department of Health and Human Services. Critics say it's just another measure to intimidate women out of getting abortions. Hillary Clinton's camp spoke out against the law, introduced by Republican Governor Pat McCrory.

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"It's shameful that Governor McCrory has decided to disregard the sanctity of a woman's relationship with her doctor by allowing this new law to go into effect requiring government review of women's personal medical information," Mini Timmaraju, Clinton's director of women's outreach, told the Times.

And Gerrick Brenner, the executive director of Progress NC Action, sent out an email obtained by the Times comparing the "creepy scheme" to  "something out of George Orwell's '1984.'"

The state is the third to put into place the ultrasound requirement, following Louisiana and Oklahoma. And the North Carolina law says that all doctor and patient information will remain confidential. 

A spokesperson for McCrory said in a statement to the Times that the law "includes common-sense measures aimed at protecting women's health by ensuring medical professionals use proper safety precautions."

The law also extends the mandated waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72, making it among the longest waiting periods in the country, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute.

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