(PRESS RELEASE) Following a string of anti-democratic tactics to amend unrelated bills with harmful provisions restricting abortion in the state, the North Carolina General Assembly has sent a package of attacks on women's health and rights to Governor Pat McCrory's desk.
Last night's move to advance SB 353 follows previous statements by Governor McCrory that he would not sign legislation restricting women's access to abortion in North Carolina, including a recent rebuke of the State Senate for attempting to pass a bill banning Sharia law which had been amended with extreme abortion measures without public notice or debate.
SB 353—a bill intended to address motorcycle safety—now also inexplicably includes several unrelated measures that:
- Cut off insurance coverage for abortion care for participants in the state insurance exchange.
- Police the decisions of women seeking to end pregnancies by banning "sex-selective" abortions.
- Restrict women's access to the abortion pill, a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion used during the earliest stages of pregnancy, by banning the use of telemedicine.
- Open the door for regulations that could lead to the closure of safe, reliable health care providers across the state.
Said Bebe Anderson, director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
"The politicians behind this law have made clear their hostility to women's rights and indifference to their health and safety.
"And they have done so through literally fly-by-night tactics, giving the people of North Carolina little chance to voice their objections to this sneak attack on reproductive freedom.
"The clear intention of these measures from the very beginning was to severely restrict women's access to reproductive health care. If enacted, this law could disproportionately affect women in difficult economic circumstances at a time when the very same politicians who are advancing this legislation are also slashing North Carolina's economic safety net to shreds.
"We urge Governor McCrory to fulfill his strong previous statements against this legislation and his campaign promises not to sign any bills that would further restrict women's access to abortion care."
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.