RALEIGH – The North Carolina Senate tentatively approved an unexpected abortion omnibus bill Tuesday evening in a vote of 27-14.
Senate Democrats criticized Republicans for bringing up the bill late on the day before the long July 4 weekend begins.
The proposed abortion restrictions were brought up in a Senate committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. The committee’s calendar only listed House Bill 695 on the agenda. The bill targets Islamic law in family matters such as divorce, child custody and alimony, also known as Sharia law. Republicans tacked the abortion regulations on to that bill
The new legislation would direct state regulators to change clinic rules so they’re similar to those for ambulatory surgery centers – a move Planned Parenthood says could shut down providers. According to legislative staff, only one clinic in the state currently meets that standard. The state’s four Planned Parenthood clinics don’t meet the requirement, as reported by the News and Observer. The bill would also require doctors to be present when women take drugs that induce abortions.
A final Senate vote is scheduled for Wednesday. The House also would have to approve the measure. Gov. Pat McCrory said last fall he was not in favor of signing additional abortion restrictions into law.
In response to this legislation, an impromptu protest is taking place outside the General Assembly at 9 a.m. Wednesday. It’s organized by the pro-choice group, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League of North Carolina. Chapel Hill Town Council member Sally Greene is expected to attend.