The N.C. legislature is soon expected to vote on whether to override or uphold Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 453. This bill is what is commonly known as a “reason” ban, which means it seeks to carve out and eliminate acceptable reasons for legal abortion in North Carolina.
In this case, HB 453 seeks to eliminate abortions based on the sex, race, or “presence or presumed presence of Down syndrome,” a group of reasons the state has categorized as “eugenic abortions.” The term “eugenics” refers to actions by the state to control reproduction through public policy. The history of eugenics is certainly a pernicious example of white supremacy and a cautionary tale for the power of the state in reproductive control.
However, HB 453 hardly seeks to shore up reproductive authority or respect the moral agency of women as capable decision-makers. Rather, proponents seek to exploit the emotional legacy of eugenics in an attempt to stigmatize women who have abortions and bully opponents into falling in line with the bill.
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