Pictured: Rally against abortion regulations

RALEIGH – The state Senate gave final approval Thursday to a bill that will tighten regulations for abortion providers in North Carolina. Hours later, the House passed drastic changes to the state’s current election laws.

House Bill 589  was revamped by Senate Republicans Tuesday to include provisions that go beyond the original voter I.D. requirement. The new version of the bill shortens the early voting period in general elections from 17 to 10 days, prohibits counties from extending early voting hours on the Saturday before Election Day to accommodate crowds, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting, and eliminates straight-ticket voting, among other provisions.

One form of identification that would not be accepted is the student I.D., and some believe this is targeting the collegiate vote. Protesters, including UNC students, have been rallying  and have even been arrested at the General Assembly this week, outraged because of the legislation.

The abortion bill now goes to Governor Pat McCrory, who previously said he would sign it into law. Backers of the bill steadfastly pushed the bill through the General Assembly.  Senate Republicans originally attached the measure to a bill concerning Sharia Law. The next week, the abortion regulations were tacked onto a motorcycle safety measure, Senate Bill 353. It is the version now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Democrats and pro-choice advocates have criticized the legislation, saying it would close abortion clinics and force many  women to resort to unsafe methods to have an abortion. The bill makes regulations for abortion providers similar to those in ambulatory care centers without “unduly restricting access.”

Only one abortion clinic in the state meets those standards.