Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday that he would sign an abortion measure passed by the House this week if it comes to his desk unaltered.
McCrory has been under intense scrutiny over the past two weeks as lawmakers have vetted two different abortion measures. That's because he said during a gubernatorial debate in 2012 that he would not sign any bill that limited women's access to abortion.
He said Tuesday that he would veto a package of abortion regulations passed by the Senate last week. That was less than two hours before the state House rolled out another version of the measure.
The House version makes a few changes, clarifying language on when a physician has to be present for an abortion procedure and instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations in such a way that they do not restrict access. Still, both critics and supporters of the bill say the two measures are substantially similar.
"If the General Assembly sends me the Senate-approved bill (HB 695), I will veto it. If I get the House-passed bill (SB 353), I'll sign it," McCrory said in a statement issued by his press office. "The recent House version allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women's safety. I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill, which will better protect women while not further limiting access."
That logic doesn't pass muster with critics of the bill.
"The governor made a campaign promise in October not to support any restrictions on abortion in our state. By signing this bill, Gov. McCrory would be going back on his campaign promise and sending a message that he can't be trusted to stick to his word," said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.
Planned Parenthood, which operates a network of women's health clinics, also took issue with McCrory's decision.
"Gov. McCrory is wrong – and worse, he’s not listening to his constituents," said Melissa Reed, Vice President of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Health Systems. "Thousands of North Carolinians have descended on Raleigh to make their voices heard – telling their legislators and the Governor that they would not stand for legislation that would hurt women and could dramatically restrict access to safe, legal abortion."