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House gives intial nod to abortion education bill

The House tentatively approved a bill Wednesday that would require schools to teach students that abortion is a preventable cause of pre-term birth.

Senate Bill 132 made it through a second reading by a vote of 73-44. The bill will remain on the calendar for a third reading in the House on Thursday. The amendments to the bill will force it back to the Senate one more time before it will go to the governor.

Before the vote, lawmakers clashed on factual accuracy. Two UNC professors and scores of studies suggest the bill’s sponsors are correct on abortion directly causing pre-term birth, while organizations like the American Public Health Association and a similar amount of studies don’t see direct causation, or even a link.

An amendment put forth by Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson, a Raleigh Democrat, was approved in an 84-25 vote. It requires the information in the bill be available at the division of non-public education website, so private schools and home-schooled students can access it. It also calls for charter schools to give students the information.

Gov. Pat McCrory said his campaign pledge to not support further limits on abortion has "absolutely no correlation" to this legislation, talking favorably about the bill . "I don't think that's even coming close to that pledge," he said. "I think this has to do with an education bill that is trying to advise young people of a whole vast range of potential health risks in many different issues, from drugs to alcohol to many other areas."

McCrory said his administration believes "we need to educate our kids on safety, things that could impact their long term health and (abortion) is just one of many things in that bill."

--Annalise Frank and John Frank, staff writers


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