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Protecting Common Sense Protections

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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March 13, 2023 10:13 am

Protecting Common Sense Protections

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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March 13, 2023 10:13 am

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo, legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, to discuss the legal case where an abortion doctor in North Carolina is suing the state in order to increase her capacity to perform abortions. 

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Family Policy Matters
NC Family Policy

Welcome to Family Policy Matters, an engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. You're equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state, and nation. And now here is our host of Family Policy Matters, Tracy Devitt Griggs. Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. In January, an abortionist filed a lawsuit challenging five of North Carolina's most effective pro-life laws. Before the merits of that case can be heard, however, a motion seeking to allow legislative leaders to intervene in defense of the laws that they passed must be resolved. Well, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom are assisting Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Leader Tim Moore with that case. And we're joined by ADF legal counsel Erica Steinmiller Perdomo, who's working on the case with them. Erica, welcome to Family Policy Matters.

Thank you so much for having me. All right. So talk about this motion. It doesn't actually address the legality of the pro-life laws at first, right?

More of a procedural request? That's right. So ADF attorneys represent the legislative leaders. That is, as you mentioned, the president pro temp of the Senate, Phil Berger, and the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Tim Moore. They represent the interests of the state in seeking to defend North Carolina's laws. Now, this lawsuit that was filed in North Carolina by an abortion doctor, the primary name defendant in the case is the attorney general of North Carolina, Joshua Stein.

He's already come out and said that he will not defend North Carolina's pro-life laws. In fact, he agrees with the plaintiff's position in the case that North Carolina's laws are somehow preempted by FDA regulations. So we're representing the legislative leaders and hoping to intervene in this case so that the important interests of North Carolina's legislative leaders and the North Carolina General Assembly can be heard. So this kind of procedural question isn't new to North Carolina, is it?

No, that's right. There was actually a prior case where these same legislative leaders sought to intervene in a case that was a challenge to North Carolina's voter ID laws. That case worked its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court, in fact, held that the legislative leaders are entitled to intervene to defend North Carolina's state interests in cases like this, where the state interests are not being adequately represented by the parties who are being sued. I've heard people say, you know, Josh Stein, do your job.

Is he not doing his job or is he within his rights to take the stand as our attorney general? Certainly the people tasked with leading the state should be coming to the defense of the laws that are enacted in the state at the request of the people. So Attorney General Stein has come out on Twitter saying that he will protect so-called reproductive rights. And that's exactly why it's important that the people of the state of North Carolina who are acting through their elected representatives, it is them who have the power to enact pro-life laws in the state to enact protections for women and girls from dangers of chemical abortion drugs, for example. And it's also within the state's authority to protect the integrity of the medical profession. So certainly the state's leaders should be coming to the defense of those laws. Right. Are we somewhat glad, though, that he has chosen not to defend it since I would imagine it would be a half-hearted defense?

Is there any silver lining here? Well, certainly I think that's why he came out and publicly announced and also advised the court that he would not oppose the legislative leaders intervention in this case. So he has already said he will not have any issue with Moore and Berger entering this lawsuit in order to defend those state laws. So I think that that is certainly a silver lining where they recognize that the legislative leaders are better suited to defend these laws.

OK, that's interesting. So talk about the outcomes of those previous cases that were similar to this one. And do we think that means that they're going to be able to intervene?

Certainly. So the Supreme Court of the United States just last year in 2022 issued its opinion in Berger versus the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP over the state's voter ID laws. And in that case, they specifically said that North Carolina explicitly provides the speaker of the House and the president pro temp of the Senate the authority to enter into these kinds of judicial proceedings, challenging North Carolina laws that certainly should pave the way for their entry into this lawsuit without any issue. They're certainly entitled to. And we've reminded the court in this case of that important ruling from the Supreme Court that paves the way for protection of North Carolina's laws in this case.

This is an issue that we're seeing across the board. ADF represents legislative leaders in multiple states who are seeking to defend state laws against unjust challenges by abortion doctors or even by drug manufacturing companies. For example, in West Virginia, the drug manufacturer Gen Bio Pro, who manufactures the chemical abortion drugs, they sued the state of West Virginia. And there we represent the leaders of West Virginia who are seeking to defend West Virginia's pro life laws. And we're involved in cases, for example, also in Arizona, where we filed a motion to intervene on behalf of legislative leaders in Arizona who are seeking to defend the state's laws, protecting unborn children who have fetal anomalies.

So it's an important time for defenders of state laws to be able to step up and have a say in lawsuits that are challenging important pro life, pro woman state laws. You're listening to Family Policy Matters, a weekly radio show and podcast of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. This is just one of the many ways NC Family works to educate and inform citizens across North Carolina about policy issues that impact North Carolina families. Our vision is to create a state and nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. For more information about NC Family and how you can help us to achieve this incredible vision for our state and nation, visit our website at ncfamily.org. Again, that's ncfamily.org, and be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts, and of course, our flagship publication, Family North Carolina Magazine.

We'd also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once the procedural question is answered, let's talk about the pro life laws that are at stake here. Sure. So the abortion doctrine in this case is challenging no less than five different North Carolina laws and an entire chapter of the North Carolina Administrative Code. Now, what those laws do is one, it prevents anyone who's not a physician from performing an abortion in the state of North Carolina. It also requires that physicians can only perform abortions up to the 20th week of pregnancy, that they need to perform those procedures in person.

And in a facility that is certified for safe use that meets certain standards. A facility in which a doctor is able to perform an ultrasound or a clinical examination to determine how far along a woman is in her pregnancy or to diagnose potentially life-threatening conditions like an ectopic pregnancy. The North Carolina laws also require that a woman give informed consent. So before a woman gives informed consent, a doctor is required to tell her about the medical risks associated with the abortion procedure, including chemical abortion procedures. The doctor is actually required to be in person physically present with the patient when that first drug of the two drug chemical abortion drug regimen is administered to the patient.

And the doctor is also required to give her information about where she can go to get follow-up emergency medical treatment. And women in North Carolina are entitled to information about alternatives to abortion and the social welfare programs and resources that are available to them if they keep their child. Importantly, also North Carolina provides a 72-hour waiting period so that after receiving this information, a woman doesn't feel like she's being coerced by an abortionist who's working for profit to actually get an abortion. She's able to receive necessary information about the procedure, about support for her if she chooses to keep her child, and then she has this period of 72 hours in which to reflect. So those are the common sense protections for women that this abortion doctor is trying to undercut in order to bolster her business. Does this abortionist lay out what kinds of laws that she wants? So the argument by the abortion doctor in this case is that somehow the FDA's approval and deregulation of chemical abortion drugs invalidates any state law protection.

Now, let me just explain that a little further. The FDA approved chemical abortion drugs for marketing back in 2000. At that time, they realized that these were dangerous drugs and that they were required to impose certain safety measures. So at the time, they required that these drugs be dispensed in person by a physician, that a woman had to have three different doctor visits throughout the process.

And so since its initial approval in 2000, the FDA has been eroding basic safeguards. Now a woman can obtain these drugs without ever seeing a doctor in person and the drugs can be mailed to her or she can pick them up at a pharmacy. And meanwhile, North Carolina has been enacting protections for women who are taking chemical abortion drugs because the fact is these drugs are dangerous.

One in five women suffers complications from chemical abortion drugs. That's a fact that the FDA has been ignoring when it eliminates crucial safeguards and its actions have been motivated by politics, not science. So in this case, the abortion doctors claiming that the FDA's actions removing essential safeguards makes these drugs available to people without any attendant state laws.

So state laws are not able to include any protections that the FDA doesn't require for marketing of these drugs. Okay, so does this have any merit? I mean, is it possible that she has a point here? No, this case completely lacks merit. The plaintiff in this case, her arguments are based on a misunderstanding and a radical expansion of agency regulatory authority and an attempt to give force of law to federal agency regulations. Those regulations do not carry the force of law and certainly do not invalidate any state law protections. In fact, in Dobbs, the Supreme Court specifically said that the states are the one that the people acting through their elected representatives are the ones who have the authority to enact laws that protect life, promote maternal health and protect the integrity of the medical profession. That's exactly what North Carolina's laws aim to do. Right. And I can't imagine that Phil Berger and Tim Moore have the time to take on all the intricacies of this case with all they have going on in the North Carolina legislature. So I'm assuming that time and your expertise is the reason why ADF is on board.

Yes, that's right. ADF is involved in several cases involving challenges to chemical abortion drugs. And so we are hoping to be able to support the state of North Carolina in protecting women from the harms of these dangerous drugs.

OK, so if you would wrap up for us, this could be confusing to people if they're listening in the radio, taking their kids to soccer practice or driving down the highway. What is the takeaway for us regarding what's happening with these cases? So the takeaway here is that North Carolina protects health, safety and welfare of women and girls from the dangers of chemical abortion drugs and abortionists can't disregard state laws protecting women and girls just to bolster their businesses. The fact is, chemical abortion drugs are dangerous to women. North Carolina has enacted common sense protections for unborn life and for women and girls from the dangers of these drugs. And those laws are entitled to be defended by legislative leaders who will accurately and adequately protect the state's interests in this case.

We are just about out of time before we go. Erica, where can our listeners go to follow this case and all the good work that you all do over there at ADF? Thanks. You can find us at ADFlegal.org and on all social media platforms. All right.

Sounds good. ADF Legal Counsel Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo, thanks so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters. Thank you.

God bless. You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week. To listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina, go to our website at ncfamily.org. That's ncfamily.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 12:12:57 / 2023-03-13 12:18:09 / 5

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