The accreditation of one of the University of North Carolina’s medical programs is in question after an abortion bill was introduced in the General Assembly last week.
House Bill 465 prevents medical schools from providing abortion training in North Carolina, which is required to be an accredited program, by banning abortions at the medical schools at UNC and East Carolina or facilities owned by them.
“If you remove abortion training as part of the residency program, you will have a tremendous adverse effect on their standing in the nation and their accreditation for their new residents,” explained Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood.
Lawmakers who sponsored the legislation say they do not want any state tax dollars to go to abortions.
“There’s no effort here to try to restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion,” said sponsor Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret County. “What we’re doing is trying to make her care-competent. We don’t want taxpayers of North Carolina to pay for abortions.”
A spokeswoman for UNC Chapel Hill explained that removing abortion training from its medical school could have a negative impact on its program accreditation.
The agency that accredits the school says “access to experience with induced abortion must be part of residency education,” the school said.
McElraft said other than in-state medical schools, there are other ways doctors can learn the skills necessary to carry out abortions.
“There are opportunities for doctor’s to learn,” McElraft said. “Abortion doctors learn from all kinds of training — in spontaneous abortions and sometimes miscarriages.”
Reed, however, contested, “As part of their training in residency and OBGYN, these folks need to have training in the most common situation. Not in emergency situations.”
A similar law exists in Kansas, where schools send their students out of state for abortion training.
Reed said Planned Parenthood has already heard from some potential residents who have decided against attending UNC Chapel Hill “because of their concerns about the bill.”
H.B. 465 was filed by Republican House members on Wednesday and would also change certain restrictions on abortions.
Those opposed to this bill said it would drastically change abortion in North Carolina by increasing the waiting period to get an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring the procedure be done by a licensed obstetrician or gynecologist.
The bill also says no one would be required to perform an abortion if they object to the practice on moral, ethical or religious grounds.
A rally against the bill is scheduled for 12 p.m. at UNC Chapel Hill on Thursday.
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