GIBSONVILLE — Among his concerns about Senate Bill 20, Gov. Roy Cooper believes the legislation’s restrictions on abortion — limits he calls “dangerous” — will carry an economic fallout as companies deciding whether to locate in the state consider the needs of their workforce.
Cooper, who held a panel discussion Thursday morning, said he plans to veto the legislation Saturday. The visit to Gibsonville follows an appearance in Wilmington on Wednesday in his efforts to persuade at least one Republican to sustain the veto.
“Companies care about their workforce,” Cooper said Thursday, noting he feels certain the new restrictions within Senate Bill 20 will negatively affect the state’s economic development because of the many “obstacles” it creates for patients and providers.
Abortion providers say the headline-grabbing 12-week cutoff distracts from dozens more provisions packed into the 47-page bill that make it much more restrictive than meets the eye. They pointed to new hurdles requiring women to make an in-person visit to a medical professional at least 72 hours before the procedure. Under current law, the three-day waiting period can be initiated over the phone.
That waiting period, Cooper said, is longer than the time it took Republicans to file, debate and pass the bill.
“This is a bill that is trying to shut off access” to services and care for which a number of barriers already exist, Dr. Jonas Swartz, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Duke Health, told Cooper during Thursday’s discussion.
Dr. April Miller, an an obstetrician and gynecologist with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, said she is especially concerned about the impact on minority women and their access to essential health care.
“Frankly, this bill scares me,” Miller told Cooper.
With her 10-year-old daughter seated beside her, Adrienne Spinner of Whitsett told Cooper during the panel discussion that she’s “terrified” about the ramifications the new legislation could have on the ability to access needed care.
“It makes me angry to know politicians are making decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor,” Spinner said Thursday.
Spinner said she hoped her representative, Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, who lives in Whitsett, would reconsider his position on the legislation.
Hardister responded Thursday afternoon in an email to the News & Record:
“This is a deeply personal topic and I respect opinions on both sides of the discussion. That said, the legislation under consideration is not extreme. It is a reasonable approach to protecting life while providing exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother.”
The bill provides women and health care professionals with the ability to make medical decisions when the health of the mother is in question, and these decisions are not limited at any stage of the pregnancy, Hardister said.
“This addresses the concerns that many people have raised about medical treatment in pregnancies that may involve a complication,” he said.
“The bill limits abortion after the first trimester, which is not a radical policy, especially with the establishment of exceptions and clarity on medical considerations for the mother. It is similar to the laws in many European countries,” Hardister said. “While opinions on the subject vary, many people support some form of limitation on abortions. I will continue to listen and respect opinions on all sides of the discussion as we move forward.”
Starting July 1, the bill would also place limits on new exceptions, capping abortions at 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest and 24 weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies, including certain physical or genetic disorders that can be diagnosed prenatally. An existing exception for when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger would remain.
Lauren Martin spoke Thursday about her painful experience about learning at 18 weeks during her pregnancy that her baby was not developing normally. She urged lawmakers to ensure difficult decisions and questions can remain between patients and their providers.
“It’s hard enough when you have a child who is not going to live,” Martin said.
New facility requirements would also require a “massive investment” for most providers to continue operating clinics in the state, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic CEO Jenny Black told reporters Wednesday. Some of the organization’s abortion centers, which Black said have been havens for North Carolinians and patients traveling from more restrictive states, will never meet the new standards, she said.
— Information from the Associated Press supplemented this report.
GREENSBORO — No one wants to get an infection with their surgery. That’s where Guilford Technical Community College graduate Latorria Jenkins is set to come in.
Jenkins was among the 1,379 graduating students who were honored by GTCC at its annual commencement at the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday.
The college awarded more than 2,400 credentials, diplomas, and degrees to those students. Three of the degrees, including an associate’s in surgical technology, went to Jenkins. She’s got a job lined up, starting in June, assisting with surgeries at Atrium Wake Forest Baptist in High Point. That includes making sure the surgeons get what they need and that everything stays sterile.
“I think I’m ready,” she said. “I’m going to jump right on in.”
GTCC actually split its graduates into two ceremonies, one at 11 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m., with different majors and programs at each. Graduating student Jeremiah Harris, the speaker at the 11 a.m. ceremony, talked about how GTCC had helped him on his journey from high school dropout and teenage parent to college graduate, rehabilitation crisis worker, and motivational speaker.
“If you notice, the second half does not look like the first,” he said.
He urged the graduates not to see themselves as locked into past or present circumstances.
“...you hold the pen to the next chapter in your life,” Harris said.
As Harris spoke, Jenkins sat beside her friend and fellow surgical technology classmate Jessica Currie, whom she met through the program and with whom she’ll be working at the hospital.
Neither had a completely straightforward route to her degree.
Jenkins chose GTCC after graduating from Southwest High School seeking an affordable, local option. After seeing her grandmother’s experience with breast cancer, and not being able to help, she knew she want do something in health care. When the college’s respiratory therapy didn’t turn out to be a good fit for her, she sought help from the college in figuring out a new course and school staff suggested surgical technology.
Currie, a former certified nursing assistant, tried to get into nursing, but it wasn’t working for her, so she picked up the surgical technology program at GTCC.
That turned out not be entirely smooth going, either. At one point their professors for the program left, the women said, and the new professor that came in loaded them up with exams. But they also praised that same professor for being willing to listen to students and work with them.
Meanwhile, the two friends have had each other, to make each other laugh, and to figure things out.
On graduation day, that meant conferring on essentials like where to go and what line to stand in.
As they stood waiting their turn to cross the stage, they cheered for their classmates and Jenkins reached up to smooth Currie’s tassel.
When it was her turn to walk, Jenkins did it with a little wave — and a tiny bit of swagger.
GREENSBORO — The Guilford County health department is making a number of changes as the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends.
“Although May 11th marks the end of the public health emergency, it is important to remember COVID-19 will remain a part of our lives,” Dr. Iulia Vann, Guilford County public health director, said in a news release.
Lines of cars for drive-thru COVID-19 test on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, stretched clear around Four Seasons Town Centre.
COVID-19 vaccines will remain available through the health department and are available to anyone 6 months or older. The department will continue providing vaccines through on-site clinics and mobile units.
The county’s Covid-19 vaccination appointment line, 336-641-7944, will be discontinued on May 31. Anyone who would like to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine after May 30 can call the general appointment line at 336-641-3245 or can visit myspot.nc.gov to find a nearby COVID-19 vaccine provider.
The county’s COVID-19 data dashboards ended Thursday, along with its daily reporting to the State dashboards. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also ended updates to the state COVID-19 dashboard today.
To get county COVID-19 statistics, visit Guilford County COVID-19 Statistics on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
The StarMed testing site at Four Seasons Town Centre will discontinue operations at the end of the month. A similar testing site in High Point already has closed.
COVID-19 home tests are still available and North Carolina residents can order for free by visiting www.accesscovidtests.org through June 30.
Masks are no longer required in public health clinic areas, but remain highly recommended. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask is encouraged to do so, the news release said.
HIGH POINT — Three days after a fatal officer-involved shooting, High Point police have released the name of the 30-year-old man who was killed Monday morning at his home.
Brian C. Burrow died at the scene. Police Chief Travis Stroud said the department is not releasing the name of the officer who shot Burrow.
High Point 911 received a call about 10:12 a.m. about a person who was “in a rage and tearing up the home” in the 3900 block of Heidi Drive, police said in a news release Monday. The caller had left the home to call 911.
After officers arrived at the home, they engaged in conversation with the suspect who lived there. The man then retreated farther into the home and returned to the back patio door “holding a scoped rifle,” police said.
“The officer fired his weapon at the suspect who was inside the house, striking him and killing him,” Stroud told reporters Monday afternoon.
The officer then entered the house to begin CPR.
There was no exchange of gunfire and no officers were injured, Stroud said.
When asked if the man inside the home took aim at any of the officers, a police department spokeswoman said she could not comment on that question because of the ongoing investigation.
It’s also unclear how much time passed between the officers’ arrival at the home and the time of the shooting.
Stroud said he was sure the officer involved was wearing a body-camera. As to when the department will request the court’s permission to release that video footage, Stroud said he wasn’t sure if they will request its release.
“That’ll be up to me,” Stroud said, saying that it may be too graphic. “I’ll just have to make that assessment as I go along.”
As is standard protocol, police contacted the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the shooting and placed the officer on administrative duty.
“We will cooperate fully with them with anything that they need,” Stroud said of the SBI’s investigation.
After that investigation is completed, Stroud said the department will conduct its own review.
High Point officers had previously responded to the home for domestic-disturbance calls on these dates: Aug. 29, 2022; Aug. 30, 2014; and Oct. 13, 2008, according to department records.