July 29, 2013 — North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory (R) at a press conference on Friday announced he would sign a wide-ranging antiabortion-rights measure (SB 353) approved by the state Senate on Thursday, WITN reports (WITN, 7/26).
Despite a campaign promise that he would not approve additional abortion restrictions, McCrory said he would sign the bill because it will not restrict abortion rights but rather bolster safety measures for abortion clinics (Jarvis, "Under the Dome," Raleigh News & Observer, 7/28).
The legislation would allow the state's Department of Health and Human Services to "apply any requirement" for ambulatory surgical centers to abortion clinics, as long as the regulations do not impede access to abortion. It also would require a physician to be present while the first drug used in a medication abortion is administered and would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus. In addition, the measure would allow any health provider -- rather than just nurses and doctors -- to opt out of participating in abortions and prohibit insurance plans offered through cities, counties and through the state health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act from offering abortion coverage (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/26).
Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said McCrory's decision to sign the bill "is blatantly and unapologetically going back on his campaign promise not to support any restrictions on abortion in our state," adding that McCrory "is sending a very public message that he can't be trusted to stick to his word" (Eilperin, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 7/26).
Abortion-Rights Groups Plan Protests, Look To Sway McCrory's Decision
Following McCrory's announcement that he would sign the bill, abortion-rights supporters began planning a two-day vigil outside of the executive mansion in Raleigh on Monday and Tuesday, according to "Under the Dome."
The protests, backed by Planned Parenthood, will last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day to show their opposition to the bill and serve as a final push to persuade McCrory not to sign the bill into law ("Under the Dome," Raleigh News & Observer, 7/28).