3 Questions You May Have about the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act

3 Questions You May Have About the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act

At The Pregnancy Network, it has always been our aim to provide women with the information they need to make informed, empowered decisions about their pregnancies. Because we care about you and your health, we do not offer or refer for abortions. However, we do provide information about the various kinds of abortion procedures and legal policies because we believe you deserve to be fully informed.

The NC General Assembly recently passed the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act, and the law will go into effect July 1. You may be wondering what this bill means for women in North Carolina. We believe it is important to address a few common questions about this legislation.  

3 Questions You May Have About the Care for Women Children and Families Act 

1. What policies are included in the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act? 

    • Abortion remains legal through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, roughly the first trimester.
      • Exceptions when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk remain legal. In cases of rape or incest, abortion remains legal through 20 weeks. In cases of “life-limiting” fetal anomalies, including a prenatal diagnosis of physical or genetic disorders, abortion remains legal through 24 weeks of pregnancy.*
      • It is important to note that the FDA recently released a warning that prenatal screening tests may be unreliable: “The FDA is aware of reports that patients and health care providers have made critical health care decisions based on results from these screening tests alone and without additional confirmatory testing. Specifically, pregnant people have ended pregnancies based only on the results of NIPS tests. Without confirming the results with a diagnostic test, there is no way to know whether the fetus actually had the genetic abnormality reported by the screening test. The FDA is aware of cases where a screening test reported a genetic abnormality and a confirmatory diagnostic test later found that the fetus was healthy. (Center for Devices and Radiological Health & Center for Devices and Radiological Health, 2022)
  • Abortion facilities are now required to meet the same health standards and licensing as ambulatory surgical centers. 
  • Any abortions performed after 12 weeks must be performed in a hospital. 
  • The bill prohibits eugenic abortions (abortions made on the basis of race, sex or Down Syndrome.)
  • Chemical abortions (specifically the first of two abortion pills) must be administered by a doctor. 
  • Women have a right to know what’s being done to their bodies. The bill requires informed consent; women must now be informed of the risks and potential complications of chemical or surgical abortion. Women must be provided an ultrasound and the opportunity to listen to the heartbeat, as well as information about available resources.  Women will continue to have a 72-hour waiting period, with an additional 24-hours for surgical abortion. 
  • The law states that physicians must provide, “an in-person follow-up visit for the woman at approximately seven to 14 days after providing the abortion-inducing drug or drugs to confirm that the pregnancy is completely terminated and to assess the degree of bleeding and other complications.”
  • Physicians performing the abortion procedure must provide the location of the hospital (within 30 miles) at which the physician has admitting privileges. If the physician has no local hospital admitting privileges, that information must be communicated.
  • Physicians attending surgical abortions must provide medical care for infants who are born alive following an abortion procedure. 
  • Partial-Birth Abortion is illegal; the law states, “It shall be unlawful for a qualified physician, any health care provider, or any person to perform a partial-birth abortion at any time.”
  • The law improves policies regarding the Safe Surrender of Infants.
  • The law increases accessibility to childcare. 

2. What does this mean for women who have a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy? 

North Carolina law explicitly states that a miscarriage or removal of an ectopic pregnancy is not defined as an abortion. You can read North Carolina’s laws here. In short, women facing life-threatening situations (such as ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages) will still receive the care they need. This legislation will not prevent much-needed medical care. 

3. What appropriations are included in this legislation?

In total, the bill allocates $160 million to provide for pregnant women and families in North Carolina. Allocations include:

  • Funding the expansion of the Safe Sleep North Carolina Campaign administered by the University of North Carolina Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health.
  • Paid parental leave for all state employees. This includes state agencies, departments, and institutions (including The University of North Carolina), public school employees, and community college employees. Additionally, a school employee may use annual leave or leave without pay to care for a newborn child or for a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care. Funding is also provided for mental health assistance for state employees.
  • Funding is allocated to the State Maternity Home Fund.
  • Financial assistance for foster care and adoption. 

We Are Here for You

If you think you might be pregnant, you may feel pressure to make a decision quickly –  but you don’t have to figure out your next steps alone. At The Pregnancy Network, we provide a safe space to process and counsel you on your decision. Our team of registered nurses will provide you with all the info you need to feel confident about your next steps. Make a free appointment today. We’re here for you. 

Click here or call 336-274-4881 to schedule a free pregnancy test and limited OB ultrasound appointment. It would be our privilege to walk alongside and support you during your decision-making process.

Kacey Minor

Kacey Minor

Kacey Minor is the Communications Manager at The Pregnancy Network.