House beats abortion rules veto, falls short on voter IDs

Posted July 26, 2011

— Legislation placing additional restrictions on abortions moved within one step of becoming law after the state House voted Tuesday to override Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto.

Meanwhile, the House failed in its effort to override Perdue's veto of legislation that would have required voters to present photo identification before casting their ballots.

The 67-52 vote was five votes short of the margin needed for an override, but House leaders said they might make another attempt in the future to get the voter ID legislation passed.

In a statement, Perdue thanked lawmakers who "stood firm in their belief that every North Carolinian has the constitutional right to vote and that the state should not be creating obstacles to stop them."

"We were hopeful that, following the governor’s veto, members from across the aisle would hear from their constituents and be willing to work with us on this very important issue," House Speaker Thom Tillis said in a statement. "While that didn’t happen today, I remain optimistic that we will accomplish meaningful voter reform in this legislature."

On the abortion override, the House voted 72-47 in favor of a bill requiring a woman to have an ultrasound of the fetus, consider an offer to see the shape and hear a heartbeat in her uterus, receive state-mandated counseling, and wait 24 hours before an abortion.

"The intent is to give women the information they need," said sponsor Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg. "Large numbers of women want this bill.”

The Senate must also approve a veto override by a three-fifths majority before the abortion regulations would become law. Republicans have more than enough votes to make that happen.

Perdue said she rejected the abortion restrictions as a needless government intrusion into what doctors tell women who have already made a difficult choice.

"The Republicans’ social agenda has, with this bill, invaded a woman’s life as never before – by marching straight into her doctor’s office and dictating the medical advice and treatment she receives," the governor said in a statement. "I remain opposed to this legislation."

North Carolina Legislature Building (4x3) House beats abortion rules veto, falls short on voter IDs

North Carolina is one of 16 states that don't require specialized counseling before an abortion. Half of all states require counseling, then a waiting period.

The new restrictions would keep abortions legal and make them safer than before by requiring doctors and clinics to have insurance and backup plans, Samuelson said.

Abortions also would become rarer, she said, because "women have changed their minds" in other states where they already have some form of informed consent for abortions.

"What is so dangerous about information?" she said. "What are your alternatives? Are there social services available so the woman really has the whole picture of what her options are?"

Democrats argued the restrictions were less about safety and full information than the Republican majority serving the political priorities of its supporters.

"It's a sad day for the women of North Carolina," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, said the General Assembly would never pass a law that would place such restrictions on a procedure for men.

"I was created from the womb of my mother just like every person here, and my gender should not determine whether I or not I can make a decision what I could do with my body," Adams said.

"It's a place the state has no right to be, constitutionally or medically," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

Rep. Diane Parfitt, D-Cumberland, a nurse by profession, said the state already has informed consent laws in place for medical procedures.

The measure passed the House last month one vote short of enough to override a veto but with support from three Democrats who also sided with the GOP to pass the state budget over Perdue's veto.

Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, who also sided with Republicans on the budget and other override votes this week, cast the deciding vote on the abortion bill. He switched his "no" vote from last month to a "yes" vote on Tuesday's override.

Anti-abortion activists sitting in the House gallery clapped after the vote was announced.

"I'm ready to celebrate and say, 'Hallelujah, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen," said Sarah Bergstron, an abortion opponent who drove from Fayetteville with three other families to watch the House session.

After the vote, Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, went outside the gallery to hug North Carolina Right to Life president Barbara Holt.

"The Woman’s Right to Know Act enables women to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to end a pregnancy, without restricting her freedom to make the final decision," he said in a statement. "I am proud of the bipartisan victory this override represents, and I am pleased that this common-sense law is on the books.”

Holt and others who had sought abortion restrictions for decades in North Carolina had tears in their eyes as they embraced each other knowing that a legislative victory was now just one step away.

"Oftentimes women regret their abortion because they have not received the information that's due to them," Holt said. North Carolinians "want mothers to have information. They understand that there are two lives."

The House also voted 72-47 to override a veto of legislation that would give businesses more latitude in denying jobless benefits to unemployed workers. Perdue said she vetoed the measure because the U.S. Department of Labor said provisions would violate federal law, but it now becomes state law because the Senate previously voted for the override.

“The leaders of the General Assembly like to portray themselves as business-friendly, yet they have shoved through a bill that will lead to tax increases on employers," Perdue said in a statement. "It could delay unemployment benefits for people who are entitled to them, and it will likely cost North Carolina millions of dollars that should go to unemployed North Carolinians and their families.”


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  • Follow_The_Money27617 Jul 28, 2011

    Are they going to make the women participate? Does she have to look at the monitor? Or just waste the money and go through the procedure even though most have made their mind ip for themselves already? I thought we were going for personal responsibility and limited governemnt? GOP? What happened you hypocritical government loving failures.

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Jul 28, 2011

    I find it funny that the same party that complains about social healthcare and welfare is advocating both in this bill.
    -- Yeah Republicans usually contridict themselves in their beliefs... This is a sad day for women. Our reproductive rights are swiftly going away. If my daughter becomes PG before she is ready- We're going to VA for an abortion.

  • newlifetupper Jul 28, 2011

    It remains a mystery to me that the government can require me to do all that they do--wear a seat belt-not smoke-but it is invasive to tell a woman that she must have an ultrasound and wait for 24 hours before killing a baby.No wonder this nation is in the shape that it is in--we have people with no common sense running it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! confusedinnc

  • Spartacus Jul 27, 2011

    dwntwnboy - I'm not so sure there would be much outrage. If we don't care enough now to protect the process against fraud, then would we really care if the process was taken out of our hands? 6 of one....

  • poohperson2000 Jul 27, 2011

    why would you not want someone to have to present their ID to vote??

  • eoglane Jul 27, 2011

    With no ID required to vote, just load up anybody and let them vote. Just to get you way right or wrong

  • Follow_The_Money27617 Jul 27, 2011

    Why do you have such anger and vitriolic hate for people of faith? I'm trying to understand why you think you hold the key to TRUTH, and the rest of the estimated 6 billion people on the planet are "a bunch of brainwashed indoctrinated sheep".

    Im searching for truth. I dont blindly believe anything. So for me to believe in your God you must tell me EXACTLY what your God is a where your God came from. Is your God a human, a spirit, an alien, what? And if God created the earth and life who or what created God? If you cant answer I dont believe it.

  • fayncmike Jul 27, 2011

    "I think people who consider themselves Liberals would agree that a main tenet of their philosophy is to protect those among us who are least able to protect themselves. The unborn child, who is a person in his/her own right with a unique set of DNA different from both mother and father, is the least able to protect itself. Liberals are on the wrong side of this debate. Preserving human life would seem to be more of a Liberal's issue, rather than that of a Conservative."

    There is no such thing as an unborn child! I don't care if it has two arms, two legs blue eyes, blond hair and is wearing a morning coat it's NOT an unborn child, it's a FETUS! having an abortion is no more murdering an unborn child than having a haircut is murdering hair or having a tooth pulled is murdering the tooth. I'm getting mighty tired of all the mealy mouth blathering about the rights of a blob of tissue. A fetus becomes a child at birth, before birth it's scrapple.

  • Spartacus Jul 27, 2011

    "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

    It is very difficult to teach a child a new trick. It says "on account of..." There are so many reasons NOT covered by this statement. How about address, citizenship, criminals, the mentally ill, the list is endless. There is a big difference between protection of a 'right' and protection against 'discrimination'. The constitution is very clear about rights, and it protects them unconditionally. Check the part about free speech, or freedom of religion. I am really sorry your school let you down, but I don't have time to be a teacher.

  • BubbaDuke Jul 27, 2011

    There have been too many amendments to the Constitution, which has resulted in Americans working for the government rather than the government working for Americans. The Constitution is not a living entity, subject to societal changes as liberals insist it is.
    The Constitution does not guarantee a person the right to vote. It allows the People the right to elect representatives and there are amendments that clarify who the People are. That's a states' right issue. In some states, people who are mentally incompetent or felons serving time in prison do not have the right to vote. The 26th Amendment says that one must be 18 years old in order to vote, but states could lower that age if they wanted.

    I would like to see a competency test that every voter must pass before they can vote and effect the way our nation is governed. It's obvious from the last Presidential election that the majority of voters decided on race rather than qualifications, and we see the results of that.