RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina senators approved a bill on Thursday to bar women from getting abortions on the basis of race, sex or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
It now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is unlikely to sign it, having rejected previous anti-abortion restrictions.
Abortion rights groups say the Republican-led bill,which was universally opposed by Senate Democrats and supported by only six Democratic House lawmakers, would prevent women from having open conversations with their doctors and deny their constitutional right to an abortion.
If it becomes law, House Bill 453 would require North Carolina abortion providers to sign a statement confirming that a woman isn’t seeking to end her pregnancy to avoid having a child with Down syndrome, or a baby of an unwanted race or gender.
Some Democratic lawmakers warned that the bill would force women to carry out pregnancies if they tell their doctor that a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome factored into their decision not to go through with the pregnancy, even if it was not the motivating force.
Anti-abortion activists say the plan promotes equality by eliminating a modern-day form of eugenics that has reduced the population of people with disabilities.
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Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.