Center for Reproductive Rights calls on the full House and Governor Pat McCrory to reject these clear assaults on women’s health and rights
(PRESS RELEASE) Following an eleventh-hour amendment tacked on to a bill banning Sharia law in North Carolina last night, today the state Senate passed a package of extreme restrictions on abortion services without any public notice or debate. HB 695, which originally banned Sharia law from state family courts, now includes several unrelated measures including a ban on sex-selective abortions, vague and potentially harmful restrictions that will impact women seeking medication abortion, a ban on any insurance coverage of abortion services in the state insurance exchange, and regulatory language that could force abortion clinics to adhere to hospital-like standards. According to local news reports, only anti-choice organizations were given any notice the amendments were being considered late Tuesday evening. The North Carolina House of Representatives, which has already passed HB 695 without the abortion-related amendments, could schedule a vote to concur with the Senate version as early as Monday, July 8. Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, called on the full House and Governor Pat McCrory to preserve women’s health and rights and the state’s democratic process by immediately rejecting these amendments: “The hostile politicians behind this vicious assault on the health and rights of North Carolina women know very well these measures are unconstitutional, unpopular, and unlikely to pass without vocal opposition in the light of day. “Instead, they have tried to ram it through at the last minute, after hours, hoping no one would notice. Their anti-democratic tactics are as repellent as their callous disregard for the very real harm their law will cause to the health and lives of countless women. “But just as they have in Texas, Ohio, and states across the nation, women and men are taking notice, standing up, and speaking out—and they cannot be silenced. Members of the North Carolina House and Governor McCrory should take notice as well. They must reject this as an assault not only on women’s health and constitutional rights, but also on the democratic process they were elected to uphold and protect.” The Center for Reproductive Rights—along with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation—filed a lawsuit against a 2011 North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects. The intrusive measures have been preliminarily blocked by a federal district judge since October 2011.