CHARLOTTE, NC, July 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The governor of North Carolina has announced he will sign a House bill increasing health regulations on abortion facilities in his state, as long as they were not aimed at “further limiting access” to abortion-on-demand.
The Republican-controlled House passed a watered-down version of a similar Senate bill on Thursday by a 74-41 margin.
“If the General Assembly sends me the Senate-approved bill (HB 695), I will veto it,” Governor Pat McCrory said on Friday. If I get the House-passed bill (SB 353), I'll sign it.”
The Senate version requires offices who perform abortions to meet the same standards as other surgical facilities and mandate that a doctor be “physically present” and “in the same room as the patient” throughout any surgical or chemical abortion.
The House version authorizes the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to write tighter health restrictions for abortionists, “not unduly restricting access” of North Carolina women to the procedure.
The House bill would have to pass the State Senate before McCrory could sign it. The Senate is expected to vote on the less restrictive bill next week.
The state last updated its health and safety regulations for abortion facilities in 1994.
“The people of this state and the people of this country have been waiting years to see commonsense provisions passed,” Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life told the Associated Press.
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The Republican governor had not previously indicated whether he would sign or veto the House bill, but he had promised to veto the Senate counterpart earlier this week. McCrory made a campaign promise when seeking office in 2012 that he would not sign any additional bills into law if they imposed any further limits upon abortion in the state.
But he says the House bill passes scrutiny, because it will not close facilities.
“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,” Governor McCrory said. “I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill which will better protect women while not further limiting access.”
DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos has said only one state abortion provider currently meets the standards of a surgical facility. The Senate version of bill could have closed more than a dozen abortion offices statewide.