North Carolina, like South Dakota, makes women wait 72 hours to get an abortion, for their own good. North Carolina at least does not compound the wait with South Dakota’s patronizing insult of forbidding women from getting abortions on weekends.
But one North Carolina woman’s painful experience illustrates why the 72-hour waiting period endangers women’s health. Sonia Loureiro was bleeding and in pain, but the state forced her to suffer unnecessarily for a week before getting the health care she needed:
Loureiro called the Duke Ryan Clinic expecting to make an appointment on Tuesday or Wednesday. She learned that she would have to wait 72 hours before having the procedure—one feature of a new law, The Women’s and Children’s Protection Act of 2015, passed by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature just the month before, in December. “I did not know about that law,” she said. “I was upset about it—I couldn’t imagine waiting three more days in so much pain.”
…[W]eather forecasters called for snow later in the week, generally a disruptive event in central North Carolina: Schools close over flurries here, and predictions of when and how much can consume local news for days. By Thursday morning, the day before her abortion was scheduled, shoppers were emptying grocery shelves and the roads were striped with brine. While arranging payment over the phone with the clinic’s billing department, Loureiro overheard the scheduling nurse’s voice. “Tell her we’ll be closed for inclement weather,” she recalls the nurse saying. Loureiro had to reschedule for the following Tuesday, turning an increasingly painful and worried 72 hours into seven days of agony [Belle Boggs, “‘Scary and Absurd’,” Slate, 2016.06.16].
North Carolina’s and South Dakota’s 72-hour waiting periods for abortion don’t protect women. They punish women.