NEWSFLASH: N.C. Governor Supports Bill That Threatens To Close All But One Abortion Provider

Photo by Jenny Warburg

According to a statement released on Friday, NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R) says that he does not intend to veto S. B. 353–the newest version of an anti-abortion bill that threatens to close nearly all of the state’s clinics that provide abortions.

He writes,

If I get the House-passed bill (SB 353), I’ll sign it. The recent House version allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women’s safety. I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill which will better protect women while not further limiting access.

After North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto the original version of a bill that would have restricted abortions, Republican lawmakers amended an unrelated motorcycle safety bill to include similar restrictions, but this time under the guise of women’s health and safety. The bill passed 74-41 in the House late Thursday afternoon; it’s now headed to the Senate for a final vote, before it reaches McCrory’s desk.

Activists have been hosting weekly “Moral Monday” protests over the past two months at the State Capitol to speak out against the North Carolina state legislature’s attempts to restrict abortion and other conservative measures. On Monday, 2,000 people flocked to Raleigh to protest H. B. 695 (containing anti-abortion language attached to an anti-Sharia law bill) and 64 reproductive health activists, including Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina President and CEO Janet Colm (pictured below), were arrested after refusing to leave.

Photo by Jenny Warburg
Photo by Jenny Warburg

After McCrory announced he would veto H.B. 695, Republicans put forth this new bill, S. B. 353, which requires that medical practitioners must be present to administer the first dose of the pill used in medical abortions. Unlike the earlier bill, it does not mandate that all abortion clinics meet ambulatory surgical center standards, but the state Department of Health and Human Services will have the authority to enforce these standards as they see fit “while not unduly restricting access.” The language of the bill is vague as to whether or not doctors will need admitting privileges to local hospitals in order to continue providing legal and safe abortion care. S. B. 353 also bans sex-selective abortions and permits all healthcare professionals to opt out or “conscientiously object” to performing the procedure.

If this bill becomes law, abortion rights advocates believe all but one clinic in the state of North Carolina would be forced to close.

While the Senate has yet to vote on S. B. 353, it is expected to pass along party lines. And now with the Governor’s intention to reverse his 2012 campaign pledge to not restrict abortion, recent events in the North Carolina State Legislature expose yet another show of political word games in the Republican’s anti-woman masquerade.

Photos of North Carolina Moral Monday protests.