House to vote Thursday on new abortion bill

Posted July 11, 2013

— The North Carolina House is expected to engage in an impassioned floor debate Thursday before voting on the latest version of a bill that would place new restrictions on the state's abortion clinics. 

In response to a Wednesday veto threat from Gov. Pat McCrory, the House Judiciary B Committee slightly altered a suite of abortion restrictions passed by the Senate and dumped them into a bill related to motorcycle safety, Senate Bill 353. 

Members of the committee changed the bill to instruct Department of Health and Human Services regulators to write rules "not unduly restricting access" of women seeking abortion, but opponents of the bill say the change does little to alter the substance of the measure. 

Rep. Ruth Samuelson House approves new abortion bill

Activists were expected to descend on the Legislative Building to watch the debate.

House leaders were critical of senators, who rewrote a House bill just before the Fourth of July to carry the abortion language, and told reporters this week they would follow a more open process. On Tuesday, they held a public hearing on the Senate measure.

But Wednesday, the House committee altered the motorcycle safety bill and attached the abortion language. 

There was no notice that the abortion-related provisions would be on the calendar. It passed the committee on a 10-5 vote.

"We're late in the session, and this is the way you get things done late in the session sometimes," said Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg. "We wanted to make sure that we got this done and didn't leave it hanging." Rep. Ruth Samuelson House approves new abortion bill

Lawmakers are trying to wrap up their work for the year this month while still negotiating tax and budget bills.But Democrats cried foul, saying House leaders were displaying the same disregard for public notice as the Senate did.

"We're as bad as the Senate is," said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham.

Republicans argue that the provisions of the bill have existed in separate pieces of legislation for months. The only thing that's different, they said, is that the measures have been combined under a single bill and attached to an unrelated piece of legislation.

Under the bill as it now exists, the measure would:

  • Allow any health care provider, not just doctors and nurses, to opt out of participating in abortion procedures.
  • Prohibit health plans offered on the exchange established under the federal Affordable Care Act from offering coverage for abortion.
  • Prohibit cities and counties from offering coverage for abortions in health plans they offer their employees.
  • Prohibit abortions for the purpose of selecting the sex of a child.
  • Require physicians to be present for the entire abortion procedure, even if the doctor would not be in the room during a comparable medical procedure.
  • Ask the Department of Health and Human Services to write regulations for abortion clinics similar to those for ambulatory surgery centers. Such regulations have required clinics in other states to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrades or close down. Currently, there is only one abortion clinic in the state that meets such standards.

"It's just another sneak attack. The bill's almost exactly the same," said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. "It's just clear that they're looking to restrict access to abortion, and they don't care how they do it."

Samuelson told reporters that she and the Governor's Office had negotiated over the bill and that the changes reflected in the House draft resolve McCrory's objections. Representatives for the governor declined to comment on the bill.


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  • junkmail5 Jul 11, 2013

    Wait a minute. Pro-Life or Pro-Choice aside. I have a question: are the taxpayers supposed to be paying for these abortions? I cannot say I am down with that.

    Good news then, you generally aren't.

    The only payment item in this bill is-

    Prohibit health plans offered on the exchange established under the federal Affordable Care Act from offering coverage for abortion

    Which means they'd forbid PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES from offering abortion coverage if they sell their product on a federal exchange.

  • blkmamba Jul 11, 2013

    Whether or not you agree with the morality of abortion, what we should all agree on is: 1. It is not the government's decision to decide what we do with our bodies. (Men will understand once they start regulating ED drugs.) 2. Women will seek abortions whether or not they're readily available, subjecting them to archaic and dangerous methods if that is all that is available. 3. The way our elected officials are going about sneaking this into basically unrelated bills with no notice is 100% UNACCEPTABLE. They're not even pulling the wool over anyone's eyes, they're being blatantly underhanded and crooked and basically saying that there's nothing we can do about it.

    I love the way you make it the issue at hand, rights and not certain moralities!

  • beachmama Jul 11, 2013

    I just cannot get over men (Not all but a great majority) that think this is entirely a woman's problem. It is the woman's issue because in their mind the woman is responsible for birth control, she is the one that is pregnant and therefore take no responsibility, mentally or financially. If society is so concerned about aborting a fetus, then there should be enforcement and jail time for dead beat men that do not support the forced birth of a child. I have not read a post by a man, telling men to take responsibility to ensure that a woman does not have an unwanted pregnancy. No preaching on that subject at all. Maybe we should go back in time and boys and girls that have intercourse and the result is a pregnancy, they must get married and raise the child. Or the girl can go off where no one knows her and bear a child in shame.

  • icmfal Jul 11, 2013

    "It is still us, the females that make the choice and take the responsibility. Whether we like it or not" It is to me still a shared responsibility. If the male half wants no responsibility, then it is a woman's choice as to how to proceed with that pregnancy.

  • musthavecoffee Jul 11, 2013

    Wait a minute. Pro-Life or Pro-Choice aside. I have a question: are the taxpayers supposed to be paying for these abortions? I cannot say I am down with that.

  • musthavecoffee Jul 11, 2013

    Dearest NoBibleBabble - I believe bechdel13 is referring to what NY's governor attempted to do with sodas, which was beyond hilarious. Does not Mrs. Obama have some sort of "stop child obesity" thing going?

  • welfarequeen Jul 11, 2013

    And also, there is no good way to say this thought, but...getting a black market abortion is bad, dangerous, and stupid on so many levels. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know this. If a woman still chooses to go through with it, not our prob. mpk976

    SO you want to outlaw abortions and if a woman gets one anyway it's " not your problem"? I want to know how abortion is your "problem" anyhow? Unless you are the one getting one, it's NOT.

  • goldenosprey Jul 11, 2013

    "Seems to be an awful lot of justification for fornication and adultery. The abortion clinics would be unable to sustain a healthy business if we spent more time and effort teaching our children that having sex outside of marriage is WRONG!!! "

    Yeah, the Catholic church and protestant groups tried the "abstinence only" approach and the audience reproduced before their eyes. If conservatives learned from the past we'd be better off.

    As for the abortion-adultery nexus, I think you are grasping at straws. The one exception that comes to mind is pro-life (ahem) congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) who pressured his patient/mistress to have an abortion after he knocked her up. Did I mention R? TN? heh heh.

  • archmaker Jul 11, 2013

    Provide women with the right options and there will be no need for abortions. The "right" options, I am not sure what those are, but that's what I would ask elected officials to help figure out. But just imagine that there were other options to where we wouldn't need abortion as an option. mpk976


    ironically, those are the same options that these people are also taking away!

  • Plenty Coups Jul 11, 2013

    ka-"Want to see this issue go away, start acting like adults with moral instead of animals in heat!"

    It's been going on ever since humans were around. People aren't going to all of a sudden stop.