NC's new abortion bill follows Texas, Ohio

Posted July 2, 2013
Updated July 3, 2013

— The anti-abortion omnibus bill that emerged without warning late Tuesday, House Bill 695, has much in common with anti-abortion laws and proposals in other states, including the bill in Texas that has mobilized thousands to protest in Austin last week.

Senate Republicans passed the legislation Tuesday evening after only 90 minutes' public notice. The revamped bill, which started as a Sharia Law ban sent over from the House, wasn't even available to the public online until just before the floor debate started. 

Because of the Roe v. Wade case and subsequent decisions, states can't ban abortion outright. But they can make it more difficult to get, and the current trend is to accomplish that by targeting clinics and doctors through what some call "TRAP" laws – Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.

Hospital privileges

A bill filed earlier this session, Senate Bill 308, would have required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. That lets hospitals decide whether to extend those privileges. 

Being sensitive to protests and political pressures over funding, hospitals often decide not to enter into those agreements with abortion providers. With no privileges, the doctor can't provide abortions, so the clinic closes. 

That strategy has been used to try to close down the last clinic in Mississippi, although that case is now in federal court. The proposal in Texas also requires admitting privileges. 

The latest version of the North Carolina proposal requires clinics to have "transfer agreements" with hospitals, a similar strategy. Hospitals can be pressured to not to enter into those agreements. That strategy has resulted in the closure of at least two clinics in Ohio.

Ohio's latest bill, signed into law Monday by Republican Gov. John Kasich, bans public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements.  

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy group, seven other states also have "transfer agreement" requirements, including Virginia and Tennessee.

Proponents of the requirement say it ensures speedy treatment for a patient who suffers complications, but opponents say hospitals are required to accept emergency patients with or without an agreement. 

Ambulatory surgical centers

Another commonly used "TRAP" provision is to require all abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Proponents say the aim is to ensure the safety of patients, but the licensing and engineering requirements for surgical centers, governing everything from hallway width to parking spaces, are far more stringent than most existing abortion clinics can meet. 

Pennsylvania and Ohio have similar laws, and the provision is included in the Texas proposal as well.

Physician attendance 

The North Carolina proposal would require the physician to remain present with the patient throughout the procedure, whether surgical or medical (drug-induced). Melissa Reed with Planned Parenthood of North Carolina says about half of all abortions are medical.

Proponents say the intent is to protect patients from unlicensed providers like those in the Pennsylvania case of Kermit Gosnell clinic, who was sentenced to life in prison in May after being convicted of performing illegal abortions.

Reed says the requirement would make abortion services all but impossible to provide. A surgical abortion can take two visits on two separate days. A medical abortion with RU486 involves doses of  two drugs over the course of three days.

The doctor would be required to be in the room with the patient when each dose of the drugs is administered. It's unclear whether the proposal would require the doctor's presence throughout the entire three-day treatment.

Reed says the effect is to discourage doctors from providing the service, and notes that state law doesn't require the same level of physician involvement for similar medical procedures.

Texas's bill would require that even nonsurgical abortions take place in a surgical center under physician supervision. North Carolina's proposal doesn't go that far.


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  • normson7 Jul 4, 2013

    The NC Republicans have truly made me ashamed and sorry to live in the beautiful state of NC. They are quickly taking the state backwards decades if not a century. Shame on them for their attacks on schools, voting, women, the unemployed, health care, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. They certainly don't show true American values on this 4th of July.

  • hardycitrus Jul 3, 2013

    All these states are sneaking though legislation in the dead of night.

    OK conservative conspiracy lovers, tell us about this national shadow government that seems to coordinating this effort, because they are making their move. What's Glenn Beck say?

  • djislandchic Jul 3, 2013


  • djislandchic Jul 3, 2013


  • kkarma Jul 3, 2013

    Its terrible how underhandedly they handled this - by not even making the bill available for the public to view until just before the debate opened on it. They knew that there would be opposition to it and didn't want to give the public the opportunity to change law makers' minds. I hate that NC feels the need to follow states like Texas in a matter such as this one. One would think that the protests that occurred in Texas would have been enough for NC law makers to at least stop and think, but it appears that they weren't even paying attention.

  • nerdlywehunt Jul 3, 2013

    Follow Texas........God help us.............largest population without health care, largest dropout rate, lowest wages in the south....what's not to like and aspire too????????

  • Krimson Jul 3, 2013

    "Proponents say the intent is to protect patients from unlicensed providers like those in the Pennsylvania case of Kermit Gosnell clinic, who was sentenced to life in prison in May after being convicted of performing illegal abortions."

    When the effect of the law is to severely limit the availability of safe abortions, the only recourse for women is to seek clinics like Mr. Gosnell's.

  • terrespencer Jul 3, 2013

    When things are financially grim for NC men, they attack women, apparently, because better financial times are certain if women are forced to have unwanted babies, right, crazy dude-bros?
    You have proved yourselves to be misogynistic and hateful by even considering restricting abortion rights.


  • jackjones2nc Jul 2, 2013

    Peaceful protest begins at 9:00am Wednesday at the NCGA. Arrive early for prayer.