N.C. House Approves Restrictive Abortion Legislation

Photo Credit: Gerry BroomeRepublican lawmakers pushed ahead Thursday with their demand for new rules at North Carolina’s abortion clinics, saying they will make the procedure safer for women. Opponents argued it was a blatant attempt to shut down clinics and curb a woman’s right to choose.

The House voted 74-41 to approve new rules after a highly-charged, three-hour debate watched from the gallery by advocates on both sides of the issue.

The bill directs state regulators to change standards for abortion clinics to bring them in line with more regulated outpatient surgical centers. It also requires doctors to be present for an entire surgical abortion and when a patient takes the first dose for a chemically induced abortion.

The bill was tweaked after Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto a separate bill approved quickly by the Senate last week. The governor said he supported more safety measures but was worried it would result in restricting a woman’s access to an abortion.

House leaders adjusted the Senate’s language with input from McCrory’s top health agency administrator. The standards have not been changed since 1994, officials have said. The governor hasn’t spoken publicly about the updated measure, which now must return to the GOP-led Senate next week. It would have to get approved there before it goes to McCrory’s desk.

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