July 24, 2013
When Republicans fought hard this session to stop sex trafficking in our state, little was heard from so-called women’s rights advocates.
A few groups dealing directly with this type of abuse provided suggestions and help. However, the effort to stop sex trafficking was weak at best for a state that ranks eighth in the nation for this hideous and abusive crime. No protesters came to Raleigh, brought signs and marched around the Capitol demanding Safe Harbor legislation.
Nonetheless, Republicans passed strong bills to punish sex traffickers (pimps), the purchasers of services (johns) and to protect the women who are harmed through this criminal activity. Prior to the GOP taking on this issue, Democrats in the legislature never bothered to seriously deal with these types of crimes.
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell for abuse, malpractice and multiple murders in his Philadelphia abortion “shop of horrors” was a shock to the entire nation. North Carolina’s Republican legislators acted swiftly to provide more protection for women — this time in the area of selective abortion procedures. Now, however, the GOP touched a nerve.
For many on the political left, abortion is sacrosanct. No one, especially a Republican, can have any say when it comes to abortion. Even though multiple clinics in Durham, Charlotte and most recently, Fayetteville, have been closed (for unsafe practices, lack of oversight and negligent acts), abortion activists have remained silent. Apparently, the Left believes that abortion clinics are extra special, have no issues that should concern anyone and should not be regulated.
In two separate bills, the NC Legislature established reasonable standards for the certification of abortion clinics by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Can you believe it? Republican lawmakers dared to call for standards to “address the on-site recovery phase of patient care at clinics, protect patient privacy, provide quality assurance and ensure that patients with complications receive the necessary medical attention, while not unduly restricting access.” According to abortion advocates, such requirements are “an assault against women!” and “outrageous!”
The legislation also provides another safeguard for the protection of women. It requires that a doctor be present when an abortion procedure is performed or an abortion-inducing drug is administered. If we expect our dentist to administer Novocaine and repair a cavity, rather than a dental assistant, what is unreasonable about making a doctor be present for a medical procedure?
Getting back to convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, MD, the Philadelphia Grand Jury made this same exact recommendation for the protection of women against monsters like Dr. Gosnell. It came out in his trial that dozens of women had been maimed and injured by staff carrying out medical procedures and administering drugs.
One truly wonders if any of the protestors even bothered to look at the legislation before beginning their marches. If they had spent more time reading the bill, rather that printing up angry protest signs, the abortion advocates would have saved a lot of wasted energy.
Far from moving quickly on this legislation, Republicans and Democrats debated these issues throughout this long session of the General Assembly. The proposed law now allows DHHS to issue temporary rules, but the department must produce an oversight report to the General Assembly on its actions by the end of the year. Further, DHHS is required to conduct an in-depth facilities safety study and provide the report to the General Assembly no later than April 1, 2014. This study will allow well-thought-out modifications or changes to regulations for the reasonable protection of women seeking abortions.
Republicans and pro-life activists are well aware that the Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion — whether they like it or NOT. However, just like the anti-sex trafficking legislation, establishing reasonable safeguards to protect women is in everyone’s best interest, particularly women. Why can’t (or why won’t) the Left recognize this simple fact?
Thom Goolsby is a state senator, practicing attorney and law professor. He was the primary sponsor of both anti-sex trafficking bills passed this session.