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‘With No Warning’ N.C. Senate Adds Policies Further Restricting Abortions in Preliminary Vote Tuesday, Update: Senate Passes Bill Wednesday Morning

By Jesse Wood

Update: The N.C. Senate voted, 29-12, Wednesday morning in favor of House Bill 695, which was amended to restrict abortions in North Carolina. The bill would still need House approval. In May, the House passed the bill, but it didn’t include the amendments that were added yesterday evening. Read below for more information regarding this bill. 

July 3, 2013. Tuesday evening, the N.C. Senate tacked on policies further restricting abortions in the state to House Bill 695, which was initially penned to prevent courts from using Islamic Sharia law and other foreign laws in family proceedings. 

The Senate, in a preliminary 27-14 vote, approved the measures that:

  • would allow heath care providers to opt out of providing services related to abortion
  • would prevent sex-selective abortions
  • would require doctors to stay in room during entire abortion procedure
  • would require abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with local hospitals
  • would require clinics to meet licensing standards similar to outpatient surgery clinics

The vote came as a surprise because the abortion-related amendments that were tacked onto the bill banning of foreign law were announced minutes prior to the last–minute vote.

“In the final minutes of marking up an unrelated piece of legislation, the Senate Judiciary committee swiftly tacked on every anti-choice piece of legislation introduced since January to this bill and sent the bill to the floor with no warning in an rare evening session,” stated Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina in statement. 

“This is a cowardly move intended to silence pro-choice voices because they know that if they show their extreme agenda in the light of day, they’ll hear from us.  Within minutes of introducing these amendments, they’ve land on the Senate floor for a vote — in so little time that North Carolina’s pro-choice majority won’t be able to weigh in with the very legislators who represent them,” Buckley concluded.

However, the North Carolina Values Coalition posted on Facebook that the Senate “passed some pretty awesome pro-life legislation” that would “save a lot of unborn lives.”

From Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund's Facebook page: "We've packed the gallery, hundreds more outside. We will be heard!"
From Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund’s Facebook page: “We’ve packed the gallery, hundreds more outside. We will be heard!”

This morning, both liberals and conservatives are crowding the inside of the General Assembly and demonstrating outside this morning as debate before the final vote on HB 695 is taking place. 

Watch the debate live here