McCrory to sign abortion bill

Gov. Pat McCrory will sign a bill into law that extends the waiting period for women seeking abortions from 24 to 72 hours.

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Matthew Burns
RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory will sign a bill into law that extends the waiting period for women seeking abortions from 24 to 72 hours.

McCrory made the announcement hours after the House gave final approval to the measure.

"Working with House and Senate members, we ensured that contact, including a simple phone call, would start a reasonable process that protects women’s health, and we also more clearly and rationally defined medical training and qualifications to ensure there will be no further restrictions on access," McCrory said in a statement. "In addition, there are other provisions that protect children in the bill, something my administration sought."

McCrory said during his 2012 gubernatorial campaign that he wouldn't support new restrictions on access to abortions, and the American Civil Liberties Union reminded the governor of his campaign promise in calling for a veto.

"A woman is more than capable of taking the time she needs to make her own personal medical decisions without the government forcing her to endure an unnecessary and potentially harmful delay,” Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement.

The North Carolina Values Coalition called the legislation a "major victory for women and children."

The House initially approved the abortion measure in April. It also requires doctors who perform an abortion when the fetus is more than 16 weeks old to transmit ultrasounds to the Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh so state officials could determine whether anyone was violating the ban on abortion following 20 weeks.

However, the Senate combined the bill, now titled the Women and Children's Protection Act, with several criminal law provisions, such as cracking down on sex offenders who commit crimes in other states and then move to North Carolina and making it easier for women to seek legal protection from domestic violence.

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, used a parliamentary maneuver to try to sever the non-abortion portions from the bill and allow the House to take two votes, but members defeated that effort 47-68.

After the vote, House Speaker Tim Moore said it never should have taken place because a concurrence motion is limited to a single up or down vote.

Democrats called the bill condescending to women and said the longer waiting period would hurt most the women who can afford it least by requiring two visits with a physician.

"Women do not need the legislature of North Carolina dictating to them how to care for their bodies or seek out reproductive care," said Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe.

"It takes real cheek by the (Republican) majority to assure us that what's going on here at all has anything to do with a woman's health," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland. "On this House floor, we love the unborn child, but as for the living mother and the child she may be forced to bear, that's a horse of a different constitutional color."

The final vote on the bill was 71-43.

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