Duke University Health System policies on providing reproductive care, including abortions, will remain unchanged until the law’s provisions go into effect in July, according to an email to The Chronicle from Matthew Barber, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical School.
The North Carolina General Assembly voted along party lines Tuesday to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 20, prohibiting abortions after 12 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, “life-limiting” fetal anomalies and medical emergencies.
The law is set to go into effect July 1. Current North Carolina law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions for medical emergencies.
Barber wrote that until July 1, the Duke University Health System will provide care “as [it] always [has],” including providing abortions. After July 1, the University will have “new policies and procedures” in compliance with the new restrictions.
“We have task forces that include health care providers and legal teams that are working to better understand the law, its implications and are working quickly to create policies and procedures that comply with the law, protect our providers and provide the best care for our patients,” Barber added.
Barber wrote that the impacts of the law on patient numbers, including out-of-state patients seeking abortions, are currently unclear.
Statements from the University
Administrators from Student Affairs affirmed that the University would continue providing “legally-permitted” reproductive healthcare and resources in a Wednesday email.
The administrators’ statement, sent to all Duke graduate, professional and undergraduate students, referenced students' concerns about the bill's impact as it has moved through the legislature.
“Reproductive health services are evidence-based, essential healthcare. Health disparity research also shows that more restrictive laws have a disproportionate impact on low-income pregnant people and on communities of color,” the email read.
The email notes that Duke healthcare providers, including Duke Student Health, will continue providing “high-quality care for all Duke students,” which includes resources such as Plan B and “any legally-permitted support for patients who need to make healthcare decisions with their health providers.”
“The University will continue to offer extensive education, support, and resources related to reproductive healthcare,” the email read.
Administrators also noted that the University would provide updated information as it learned more about the law’s impact on student health policies, including the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan.
Antwan Lofton, vice president of human resources, also released a Wednesday statement in an email on behalf of Duke Human Resources.
“Duke Health will continue to provide high-quality care for all patients and the support needed for patients to make health care decisions with their physicians. The University will ensure that education, support, and resources related to such care continue,” Lofton’s email read.
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Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.