Surprise Bill On Abortion Restrictions Sparks Pushback
|By Molly Parker, Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.|
More than 500 opponents of the legislation -- mostly women and many wearing pink -- organized quickly to gather at the
Protesters in the atrium outside the full gallery above the
As the lone Democrat and woman in the local legislative delegation, Rep.
New Hanover, of the purpose of the
"They're doing this because they can't get anything else done," she said. "So they go after the least among us. They go after health care, after children, after women, after the disabled.
Social conservatives pushed a series of new abortion rule changes nearly completely through the
The bill originated in the House as a ban on Sharia Law.
On the new abortion rules, Goolsby said the law enacts reasonable safeguards to protect patients. "Physicians are required to perform surgical procedures, and the
The committee passed the bill, which later received tentative approval from the full
The House also would have to approve the measure, a portion of which already passed earlier this year, before it could go to Gov.
Other members of the local House delegation said they'd take a wait-and-see approach to the bill.
"I don't like speaking on something I don't know the details on," he said.
"I've got to see it," he said. "It sounds OK. It's just that it's kind of being rushed, and I'd like to read it and see what all is in it. I'm not really sure. I've heard three or four different things."
"I'll be frank. I don't like getting involved in social issues.... Social issues can be very divisive with people. I'd rather take my time and effort at looking at the economy and trying to get jobs and tax reform and the budget without getting off track with the social issues.... There are a lot more important things we need to deal with than getting involved in these types of issues."
But if it's going to be on the agenda, he said, he can't ignore it.
Provisions that already passed the House and were added to the
Prohibit the carrying out of abortions on the basis of the gender of the fetus. A doctor could be sued for damages. A court could fine physicians who don't comply with court orders against the practice.
Outlaw private health care plans that include abortion services, with some exceptions, from future health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
Forbid counties and cities from including abortion coverage that's greater than that provided in the state employee health insurance plan.
Allow any medical professional to refuse to participate in an abortion and not just doctors and nurses.
Tuesday's vote was the latest example of the influence of social conservatives in the legislature, which Republicans took control of after the 2010 elections. It follows moves by several other Republican-led legislatures to place new restrictions on abortion, in some cases effectively limiting their availability.
"This is really about limiting women's rights," said Sen.
The legislation in part would direct state regulators to change clinic rules so they're similar to those for ambulatory surgery centers. Other states have passed similar restrictions that are difficult and expensive for abortion providers to carry out, said
The bill, if approved, "has the potential to shut down providers across the state," Reed said. "Abortion is one of the most common and safe medical procedures done in
"This bill is about safety," Daniel said during the floor debate. "If we require regulations that are burdensome on orthopedic (offices) and they can compete in the marketplace, then ... abortion providers can, too."
Senate Democrats criticized Republicans for bringing up the bill late on the day before a long
"This bill is an end-run around our committees, our procedure and most importantly, our public," said Sen.
During a televised debate last October, McCrory was asked which additional abortion restrictions he would agree to sign into law. McCrory responded simply, "None."
Woodard urged McCrory to block the bill if it comes to his desk, saying aloud on the floor, "Governor, the women of
McCrory issued a statement Wednesday that didn't address whether he would sign the legislation but did condemn the
"When the Democrats were in power, this is the way they did business," the statement says. "It was not right then and it is not right now. Regardless of what party is in charge or what important issue is being discussed, the process must be appropriate and thorough."
The bill also would require a physician performing a surgical abortion to be physically present during the entire procedure and be present when a woman takes a pill like RU-486 to induce an abortion. Reed said the requirement would make it harder for physician to take care of more patents.
This report includes material from the
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