As previously reported, Republican Governor Pat McCrory has received criticism from both pro-life and pro-abortion residents alike over the legislation. The original bill, which had cleared the House, was considered by McCrory to be too burdensome, and he advised lawmakers that unless the language was changed, he would veto the regulations.
McCrory expressed concerns over some of the language in the bill, which mandated that abortion facilities meet standards “similar to those for the licensure of ambulatory surgical centers.” The governor stated that some of the standards may be an “overreach” and needed adjustment.
“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.
McCrory also noted that he had promised while running for office not to enact any new abortion restrictions. He stated that there was a difference between restricting and regulating abortion.
“The governor is a huge disappointment!” stated one pro-life resident in disgust that McCrory sought to protect access to abortion.
However, abortion activists were also incensed against McCrory, who accused him of breaking his election promise.
“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.”
The House, in response to McCrory’s vow to veto, made revisions to the bill and passed the legislation a second time, which was signed into law on Monday.
According to the News Observer, over a dozen abortion activists held a 12-hour protest across the street from the governor’s mansion the day the regulations were approved by McCrory.
“He has signed the most restrictive access to safe and legal abortions this state has ever seen,” said Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood told the publication. “We will make sure women know Governor McCrory can’t be trusted.”
Some of the signs held by the men and women included, “Honk if you like safe sex,” “My body, my choice” and “[The] McCrory agenda is hurting North Carolina.”
Protesters were stated to have returned for another full day of protests on Tuesday, but McCrory’s office released a statement after signing the bill, again asserting that he is only regulating abortion, not ending it.
“This law does not further limit access,” it read, “and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens.”
Reports state that McCrory also personally brought out a plate of chocolate chip cookies to the protesters, who later returned them with a note that read, “[We] will take women’s health over cookies!”
Jamie Sohn, who took the plate from the governor–initially stunned–told the News Observer that McCrory said to her, “These are for you. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.”
Photo: Hal Goodtree