Peter J. Smith


North Carolina bishop pledges personal support for abortion veto override

Peter J. Smith

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, June 30, 2011 ( – The Catholic bishop of Charlotte has pledged to work - and pray - for two more legislators to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of a pro-life law.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, wrote a letter published in the Charlotte Observer criticizing Perdue’s veto of HB 584, the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which mandates that abortionists give women an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion.

“In the coming weeks, my prayers and efforts will be focused on convincing at least two more legislators that the Woman’s Right to Know Act respects the dignity of a woman with an unplanned pregnancy as she considers the fate of the innocent human life she carries in her womb,” said the Catholic bishop. 

Perdue vetoed the proposed informed consent law on Monday, calling it “a dangerous intrusion” by government in the doctor-patient relationship into doctors’ freedom to “not have their advice overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others.”

But Jugis defended the logic of the law, and questioned why abortion is not treated like other major surgical procedures, where doctors are routinely expected to consult with patients days, not “within a matter of hours”, before performing surgery.

“It is appalling to think that we even need legislation that requires a waiting period before a serious operation is performed,” he said. 

“A doctor wouldn’t skip getting an X-ray before mending someone’s broken arm. Why is an ultrasound, which is far safer than an X-ray, even questioned before an abortion is considered?”

Both the state House and Senate are each one vote shy of the three-fifths threshold needed to override the governor’s veto. The House had passed HB 584 by a 71 – 48 margin, and the Senate passed the measure 29-30.

Raleigh’s News and Observer reports that state Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Charlotte), one of the sponsors of the bill, believes pro-life GOP legislators may be able to get a few more Democrats to join them in a veto-override. 

“We’re hoping to convince a number of them to stand with their conscience and not politics,” Samuelson told the journal.

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