N.C. Antiabortion Bill Faces Veto Threat

July 11, 2013 — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Wednesday pledged to veto an antiabortion-rights measure championed by Republicans in the state Legislature, Reuters reports.

The governor's "unusual" move against his fellow conservatives could kill the proposal for the session, according to Reuters (Brooks, Reuters, 7/10).

The Senate approved the legislation last week after combining various antiabortion-rights bills into one omnibus measure and attaching them to an unrelated bill.

The abortion-related provisions would require abortion clinics to meet licensing requirements similar to those for ambulatory surgical centers and obtain transfer agreements with local hospitals. In addition, the bill would mandate that a physician be present during abortion procedures, including medication abortions, which involve taking two drugs two days apart. The measure also would allow any health care provider to refuse to participate in abortion-related services, prohibit health plans available through the state's insurance marketplace from offering abortion coverage, ban state funding for abortions except to save a woman's life or in cases of rape or incest, and ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/3).

On Tuesday, Republican legislators said they would consult with state regulators about the bill before they decide whether to hold additional votes, Reuters reports. Lawmakers would have to wait until January to consider the legislation if they do not pass it before the current session ends, which could be as soon as next week (Maguire, Reuters, 7/9).

Last week, McCrory criticized the Senate for passing the measure in relative secrecy.

House Holds Public Hearing

State House leaders on Tuesday held a public hearing, in part as a response to McCrory's complaints about the way Senate handled the measure.

At the hearing, state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos noted that the measure would increase the cost of building an abortion clinic by about $1 million and suggested that more frequent inspections might be better to ensure patients' safety.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Executive Director Suzanne Buckley criticized the bill, noting that most state residents want the Legislature "to focus on jobs, the economy and increasing access to health care, not stripping away a woman's choices" (Reuters, 7/9).