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North Carolina governor vetoes abortion bill

By Ned Barnett

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue on Monday vetoed legislation calling for a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion.

The legislation also required medical personnel to present to patients an ultrasound image of the fetus along with information about possible risks.

"This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors," the Democratic governor said in a statement.

"The bill contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship."

Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life, said the proposed law would not be an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship because most women who undergo abortion usually have no relationship with the doctor who performs the procedure.

"Most women who have abortions say they have never seen the doctor prior to the abortion and never see the doctor after," Holt told Reuters. "This is about women going to facilities that deal only in abortions."

Perdue said the bill is a case of legislators imposing their ideology on a woman's private consultations with her doctor.

"Physicians must be free to advise and treat their patients based on their medical knowledge and expertise and not have their advice overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others," Perdue said.

Holt said the governor rejected changes in abortion law that have won majority support in polls and would provide women with more information to make a decision before they make one that they could regret.

"We are very much disappointed that she has chosen to override the express will of the people," Holt said. "It's a sad day for women who are looking for information to make a life and death decision."

The bill passed the state House 71-48 and the Senate 29-20. Both votes in the Republican-led General Assembly were one vote short of the three-fifths majority needed to override a veto.

North Carolina is one of a number of states with Republican majorities seeking restrictions on abortion this year.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)

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