CHARLOTTE, NC, July 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The North Carolina House of Representatives has passed a new bill with greater safety regulations for abortion facilities by a vote of 74-41.
The House measure waters down a bill that passed the Senate yesterday, following a veto threat from the governor.
The original Senate bill, which passed 29-12, required offices that perform abortions to meet health regulations “similar to those for the licensure of ambulatory surgical centers.” It also mandated that doctors be “physically present” and “in the same room as the patient” throughout any surgical or chemical abortion. In effect, that would have ended the process of telemed abortions statewide.
It also included conscience protections and demands that the mother provide informed consent after receiving medically accurate information about abortion.
However, the proposed measures hit a brick wall when Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, threatened to veto it unless “significant changes” were made.
In his 2012 campaign McCrory vowed not to sign any additional abortion restrictions into law, but said he may make an exception for this bill, which is a safety measure.
In response to the veto threat, House Republicans amended the bill and attached its provisions to a bill on motorcycle safety. The new bill asks state health officials to write rules “not unduly restricting access” to abortion.
It also requires that a doctor be present when the woman takes the first abortion-inducing drug but not necessarily as the two drugs run their course.
McCrory will not comment on whether the new bill meets his criteria. A spokesperson said, “The governor needs to hear from his team first.”
According to the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), only one of the state's abortion facilities meet surgical standards, and 16 would be forced to close. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said opponents who objected to passing any new safety regulations were “unrealistic.”
“As medical science advances, we constantly have new information; we must review our rules and regulations and become current,” Wos said.
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Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and their supporters mocked the bill on Twitter with the hashtag #vaginamotorcycles. They called the new oversight, designed to protect women, a “sneak attack.”
MoveOn.org will deliver a petition demanding that Governor McCrory veto any bill that reaches his desk that would restrict abortion-on-demand.