Senate Bill 132 – Health Curriculum/Preterm Birth

April 4th, 2013 by

Senate Bill 132 was filed on February 25, 2012. It requires the School Health Education Program to include instruction on the preventable causes of preterm birth, including induced abortion as a cause of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.

  • The Child Fatality Task Force unanimously voted to support this legislation at its December meeting.
  • The association of induced abortion with prematurity has been reported extensively in over 125 publications (
  • An analysis done by the Fiscal Research Division in 2008 reported that annually in NC induced abortion is associated with 745 early preterm births, 379 preterm deliveries resulting in death, 119 preterm infant deaths, and 32 cases of very low birth weight infants suffering cerebral palsy. Induced Abortion/Cerebral Palsy Memo.
  • In September 2012, the NC Fiscal Research Division revised its report using inflationary data to update the fiscal impact portion of its analysis. For 2012, the cost-consequence contribution attributable to previous induced abortion to initial neonatal hospital costs was estimated to be $98,858,694. Updated Induced Abortion/Cerebral Palsy Memo
  • There is a remarkable similarity (almost identical) between the level of risk for preterm birth associated with smoking and the level of risk for preterm birth associated with induced abortion in a previous pregnancy. (Rosanne Freak-Poli, et al., “Previous Abortion and Risk of Pre-term Birth: A Population Study,” Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 22, no. 1 (January, 2009, 1-7). North Carolina has made significant effort to support programs that make mothers aware of the consequences of smoking on the outcome of pregnancy. If there is rationale for including the risks of smoking in preconception education, then there is rationale to include the risk of previous induced abortion.
  • For ethical and practical reasons, all research done with induced abortion to look at safety or effectiveness will be observational; however, this is the case with most other exposures and health outcomes, e.g. cigarette exposure.
  • Induced abortion is an immutable risk factor for future preterm birth after an induced abortion has occurred. Because of this, information about induced abortion should be included in preconception education with the intention of preventing a pregnancy that might result in an induced abortion.

More information on the bill, including the bill text and bill history is available at:

For presentations made by Dr. Marty McCaffrey, Dr. Watson Bowes, and Dr. John Thorp at the Perinatal Health Committee meeting, click here: Presentations at Perinatal Health Committee