(Reuters/Molly Riley)

North Carolina Republicans sneak antiabortion provisions into motorcycle safety bill

State GOPers, without notice, tacked sweeping antiabortion provisions onto yet another unrelated bill


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Katie McDonough
July 10, 2013 9:07PM (UTC)

Last week, just hours before the North Carolina Legislature recessed for a long holiday weekend, state Republicans inserted sweeping abortion restrictions into an "anti-Shariah Law" bill. The underhanded tactic was criticized by Democrats and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who denounced the sneaky move and threatened to veto the bill unless significant changes were made.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers did it again, this time injecting language to severely restrict abortion into a completely unrelated measure -- a motorcycle safety law -- without public notice.

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Hours after Gov. Pat McCrory issued a veto threat for a controversial abortion bill, House Republicans -- acting without public notice -- took a bill about motorcycle safety and inserted abortion language.

The new bill -- S353 -- represents tweaks to the version that passed the Senate last week but still includes some of that version's contentious language. It calls for a physician to be present when the first drug in a chemical abortion is administered, as opposed to all drugs, as the version that passed the Senate last week would mandate.

Another major change from the Senate version: Abortion clinics would not be required to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. But the state Department of Health and Human Services would be authorized to apply those standards as it sees "applicable." The bill also includes a state study to determine what resources are necessary for the state health agency to adequately enforce the new regulations, and would pay for more inspectors.

“It is a disgrace to North Carolina that legislators have again resorted to sneak attacks to move their anti-women’s health agenda forward,” Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood Health Systems said in a statement. “Once again there was no public notice that this bill would be heard. The public and even many legislators on the committee only learned this was a possibility at 9:57 a.m. -- three minutes before the committee was to meet -- when a political reporter was tipped off and posted it on Twitter. This is outrageous and not how the people’s business should be conducted.”

The House committee voted to approve the measure, but it remains unclear if the bill will go for a full vote on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for House leadership.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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