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Thu May 25, 2023, 11:19 PM

NC Abortion Clinics on the Front Lines: The Ms. Q&A with Amber Gavin

North Carolina Abortion Clinics on the Front Lines: The Ms. Q&A with Amber Gavin

5/22/2023 by CARRIE N. BAKER
North Carolina’s 12-week abortion ban was introduced and passed within 48 hours. “That’s actually shorter than a person has to wait after they receive their state-mandated counseling in order to get an abortion,” said Amber Gavin. “That irony is not lost on us.”

A Woman’s Choice clinic waiting room in Charlotte, N.C. (Courtesy of A Woman’s Choice)

On May 16, North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature enacted a 12-week abortion limit, after Republican supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of SB 20, which prohibits any licensed physician from performing abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

The bill purports to provide exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest through 20 weeks of pregnancy and for a “life-limiting” fetal anomaly through 24 weeks of pregnancy—but these exceptions are narrowly drawn. The bill has no exception for preserving the health of pregnant women, allowing abortion only necessary to avert death, “not including psychological or emotional conditions.” Physicians violating the law face dire consequences, including loss of license, civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines. The law is slated to take effect beginning July 1.

Amber Gavin is the vice president of advocacy and operations for A Woman’s Choice, an independently female-owned and operated abortion clinic with three locations in North Carolina and one in Jacksonville, Fla. They specialize in first- and second-trimester abortion care, and offer miscarriage management, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and STI testing.

Ms. spoke with Gavin about the impact of the North Carolina abortion ban, slated to take effect on July 1.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Carrie Baker: How will the new law impact your clinics?

Amber Gavin: SB20, which we’ve been referring to as a monster abortion ban, is extreme and sweeping legislation that imposes significant barriers for folks accessing abortion in North Carolina. It bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Republican lawmakers have claimed that the bill allows for exceptions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, however, any abortion under those limited exceptions would have to be provided in a hospital, which we know is not necessary. One of the problems when people say that there are exceptions, is that it’s really at the hospital’s discretion. We already know hospitals say medically-inaccurate things or refuse to provide abortion. The problem with the exceptions in my experience is that they’re not really workable in actuality.

It’s really cruel: We’re talking about survivors of assault, rape, fetal anomalies, but they have to plead their case to judges, lawyers and potentially hospital administrators to prove that their abortion is necessary and worthy, and that’s really cruel and unjust. I don’t think that’s really a workable solution. And forcing people to have abortions in a hospital also feeds into the misinformation around what abortion actually is. We know it’s safe and it can be done safely in our clinic.


Complete interview at the link:


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