RALEIGH – The North Carolina House of Representatives altered a proposed abortion bill this week after Republican Governor Pat McCrory threatened to veto the legislation over his belief that it would restrict women’s access to an abortion.
As previously reported, the North Carolina Senate recently passed a number of abortion-related amendments that it attached to the Family, Faith and Freedom Protection Act. The amendments, which had been characterized by some as “sweeping,” cover a number of aspects pertaining to the abortion industry.
One of the amendments prohibits insurance companies in the state from offering policies that cover abortion — an effort to counteract the requirements of Obamacare. A second amendment bans gender-based abortions, and a third measure protects health care workers of faith from having to participate in abortion procedures against their conscience. A fourth amendment requires that abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers — a law that has been passed in several other states across the nation, including in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
When similar legislation soon came up for consideration in the House this week, Governor McCrory advised that he would not sign the bill if passed, since he had promised while running for office that he would not enact any new abortion restrictions. He expressed concerns over some of the language in the bill, which required that abortionists be “physically present” the entire time a medicinal abortion is induced, and mandated that abortion facilities meet standards “similar to those for the licensure of ambulatory surgical centers.”
“Unless significant changes and clarifications are made addressing our concerns that were clearly communicated by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, Governor Pat McCrory will veto the existing bill, HB 695, if it is passed by the House and Senate,” read a statement released from McCrory’s office this week.
Abortion activists also reminded McCrory of his campaign promise as both pro-life and pro-abortion supporters alike expressed disappointment in the governor’s actions — but for different reasons.
“If you’re going to make a promise in a campaign, you’d better keep it, because nobody’s going to forget,” wrote Senate Democratic Leader Martin Nesbitt in a statement. “Instead, we’ve seen the governor play backroom political games so he could look tough while ultimately signing sweeping restrictions that will hurt thousands of women.”
Planned Parenthood and NARAL likewise released statements denouncing McCrory for considering the bill at all.
After receiving word of the threatened veto, the House quickly made changes to the bill to scale back some of the wording, which McCrory and others believed was too “vague” and restrictive. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee approved the new legislation 10-5, which asks state health officials to construct facility standards that are not “unduly restricting access” to abortion. The full House later followed suit with a vote of 74-41.
“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,” McCrory said of the revised legislation. “I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill which will better protect women while not further limiting access.”
He now states that he will sign the bill if passed.
However, some residents have expressed disdain over McCrory’s attitude toward protecting abortion.
“The governor is a huge disappointment!” wrote one commenter named Chip.
“Disappointing isn’t the word,” Ginny from Ocean Isle Beach stated. “Surprised? No.”
The bill will now make its way back to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to the governor’s desk for signing. The ACLU has threatened a lawsuit if the legislation becomes law.
Photo: Hal Goodtree