Under the Dome

Democrats, advocates call for "common sense" on abortion bill

Pro-abortion-rights speakers emphasized the lack of female-healthcare providers’ involvement in the political process during a Tuesday Democratic Women’s Caucus press conference.

Arguing against the omnibus abortion bill, Paige Johnson, Planned Parenthood of Central N.C.’s vice president of external affairs, maintained that safety is the organization’s top priority.

She said that though it would restrict women’s rights to choose, she would be willing to work with lawmakers to improve the bill. But no women’s health experts were allowed to testify while it was still eligible for amendments.

“If their goal…is not to shut down providers of safe and legal abortion but rather to make the procedures safer…for women, then why not involve the providers of this healthcare?” she said.

Lawmakers speaking at the press conference said the bill doesn't just increase abortion safety, as its supporters argue; they said it's a a partisan attack that would make the legal medical procedure more difficult to do.

“We are not abortion advocates, we are choice advocates,” said Rep. Verla Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat, responding to bill supporters’ comments during the House committee meeting. She said she would agree to increase clinic inspections, but the bill goes past that, restricting access to abortions by shutting down centers.

The bill would limit women’s access to healthcare, said House Minority Leader Larry Hall, a Durham Democrat, echoing a sentiment expressed by several of the speakers.

Rep. Joe Sam Queen, a Democrat from Waynesville, called for lawmakers to slow down and review before moving further.

“This is not a place for partisan politics, this is a place for common sense, and real improvements on a process that gives access and needed health care to more North Carolinians with a greater safety outcome,” he said.

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