Abortion bill passes General Assembly, heads to McCrory - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Abortion bill passes General Assembly, heads to McCrory

Posted: Updated:
Demonstrators express their disapproval for abortion legislation outside the General Assembly. Demonstrators express their disapproval for abortion legislation outside the General Assembly.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Republican-led Legislature on Thursday approved new abortion rules that backers say will make the procedure safer, but that critics say aim to restrict the ability of women to have abortions by forcing clinics to close.
    
The state Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure giving the state Department of Health and Human Services the authority to regulate abortion clinics using the same standards as those for outpatient surgical centers "while not unduly restricting access."

"The majority of folks in this country, and I dare say in this state, are pro-life anyway," said Sen. Buck Newton, a Republican representing Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties.

But Sen. Martin Nesbitt, a Democrat, said, "Choice, and the woman's right to control her health belong to the women who want to exercise that right."

With Republicans in control of more state legislatures since the 2010 elections, a growing number of states have tightened rules for abortion clinics and imposed other restrictions. Republicans took control of the North Carolina General Assembly after the 2010 elections.
    
About half of states now require abortion facilities to meet standards intended for ambulatory surgical centers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks restrictions on abortion rights.
    
"It's not hard to figure this out. Same thing's been done in all these other states. They're shutting them down all over the United States," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe.
    
Sen. Thom Goolsby countered that the new rules were written to protect the health and safety of women.
    
"What is wrong with reasonable standards?" asked Goolsby, R-New Hanover.
    
Gov. Pat McCrory had threatened to veto abortion regulations that didn't leave the rules to the judgment of the state health agency. The Republican governor said that the legislation crossed the line between protecting patient safety and restricting access to a legal medical procedure. McCrory said during his election campaign last fall that he would not sign any new abortion restrictions into law.
    
"All eyes are now on the governor," said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. "He made a campaign promise to voters back in October that he would not support any further restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion care in our state, and we are going to hold him to his word."
    
NARAL, Planned Parenthood and others said they delivered petitions containing the signatures of tens of thousands of residents who oppose the proposed new regulations.
    
Tarah Tugman of Lenoir said that after listening to the debate leading up to the vote, she believed requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers is the minimum health care that women deserve.
    
"Praise God! I am so thankful," Tugman said after the vote. "I will always support laws that protect unborn babies."
    
Existing abortion clinic regulations haven't been changed since the mid-1990s, Dr. Aldona Wos, the state Health and Human Services secretary, said earlier this month. Because there are only 10 inspectors reviewing hundreds of clinics and health facilities statewide, clinics can be examined only every three to five years, she said.
    
Only one abortion operator in North Carolina is a licensed ambulatory surgical center. Many of the other 15 clinics in the state won't be able to comply with the regulations because it will be too costly to upgrade their facilities, women's health groups said.
    
An ambulatory surgical center costs about $1 million more to build than an abortion clinic does, state Division of Health Service Regulation director Drexdal Pratt told lawmakers earlier this month. It's unclear how much it would cost existing clinics to convert to higher standards and how many clinics could meet them and remain open, Pratt said.
    
Restrictions against insurance coverage for abortion were most likely to affect low-income families who would face new restrictions on having abortions covered by their insurance policies, said Kristin Rawls, 33, of Angier, who was visiting the General Assembly.
    
"I don't know how it's going to work if there are so few places where they can provide abortions. Will there be months-long waiting lists?" Rawls said. "It's a very extreme law."
    
The bill also would prohibit abortions for gender selection and allow any health care provider to opt out of participating in abortions, extending that option beyond doctors and nurses. The legislation also would prohibit abortion coverage in insurance plans offered by cities, counties or the online marketplace for private policies established under the federal health overhaul law. Abortions would be allowed if a pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.
    
Lawmakers were expected to close their annual session early Friday.
 

RELATED STORIES

RELATED LINKS

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:27:43 GMT
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
  • McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:33:02 GMT
    Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
  • Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-04-19 15:51:50 GMT
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
  • Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:07:16 GMT
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
  • 3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:29:23 GMT
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
  • Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:16:02 GMT
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.