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North Carolina’s Anti-Abortion Bill Take Two

Déjà vu, anyone? Less than two weeks ago, we saw the North Carolina Senate pass HB 695, a sweeping anti-abortion measure that could have left just one clinic in the state. But Governor McCrory threatened to veto the bill after it passed the Senate, citing problems with both the bill’s process and content. So last Thursday, anti-abortion legislators were at it again.

They passed a very similar bill, SB 353, that changed the content only slightly. But the process was still a problem – like the first bill, the new version contains extreme abortion restrictions tacked on to completely unrelated matters. The first one was tacked onto a bill prohibiting the use of sharia law. This one? Tacked onto a bill relating to motorcycle safety. The current bill was introduced in committee on Wednesday without public notice and quickly moved to the floor, where it passed the next day. Now it heads to the state Senate for consideration, where it is expected to pass.

Like the first version, the new version would prohibit women in the new health care marketplace from purchasing a comprehensive health plan that includes coverage of abortion, allows any health care provider to refuse to provide an abortion even if a woman’s life is at risk, prohibits the use of telemedicine for non-surgical abortion, and requires regulation of abortion providers. Supporters of the bill claim to be “protecting women,” but we all know what this is really about. As State Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D) said, "This is an anti-woman bill in disguise, a wolf in sheep’s clothing."

And what about the governor? Does he once again oppose a bill that threatens women’s health and that was pushed through the legislature without public input, in record time? Nope. This time, McCrory has said he will sign the bill, despite the fact that during his campaign, he promised not to restrict abortion in North Carolina. Let’s hold him to his promise!

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