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North Carolina

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

North Carolina imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements. 

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women.  North Carolina has such regulations, including:

Any non-hospital provider that provides abortion services during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy must be "certified" as an abortion clinic and must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme not required of other medical providers. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-45.1(a) (Enacted 1967; Last Amended 1997); N.C. Admin. Code tit. 10A, r. 14E.0101(1).

A clinic must hire a registered nurse with experience in "post-operative or post-partum care" to be on duty in the clinic at all times when patients are in the facility.  N.C. Admin. Code tit. 10A, r. 14E.0307. Exceptions are not provided for times when nursing services are not being performed, or when physicians and/or other medical personnel are present.

A clinic must include at least 18 individual physical components, including its own laboratory and a "nourishment station" for "serving meals or in-between meal snacks."  N.C. Admin. Code tit. 10A, r. 14E.0207. The air temperature must be maintained between 75 and 80 degrees in patient recovery rooms and between 70 and 76 degrees in procedure rooms with humidity between 50 and 60 percent, and the ventilation system must change air flow six time an hour for certain rooms in the facility and 10 times per hour for others.  N.C. Admin. Code tit. 10A, r. 14E.0206.

The state health department has the authority and latitude-through regulatory means-to require any abortion facility to comply with the requirements for licensure of ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals.  S. 353, 2013 Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (N.C. 2013).

North Carolina requires that all abortion services after the 20th week be provided in a licensed hospital. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-45.1(b) (Enacted 1967; Last Amended 1997).  Such a requirement is unconstitutional and unenforceable under a U.S. Supreme Court case, which held that such a requirement unconstitutionally burdens a woman's right to choose. Akron v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health 462 U.S. 416 (1983).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

North Carolina prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state may provide abortion care.  N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-45.1(a) - (b) (Enacted 1967; Last Amended 1997).

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