The House gave its final blessing Thursday to the bill prohibiting insurance coverage for abortions in the state health exchange and local government plans – with a fair amount of rancor over the divisive issue.
The final vote was 73-39, with Rep. William Brisson, a Democrat representing Johnston, Sampson and Bladen counties, breaking ranks with his party again.
Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, was livid when Republicans used a legislative maneuver to end the debate after only three members were permitted to debate the bill. Fourteen additional members had indicated they wanted to speak.
“We have undermined the functions of this House,” Luebke said. “I hope this never happens again. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.”
Earlier, freshman Rep. Susan Martin of Wilson, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, disputed Democrats’ criticism that the legislation was anti-woman.
“This is a pro-choice bill -- my choice as a woman not to support abortion,” Martin said.
Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Fayetteville, emotionally recounted how he and his wife made the wrenching decision to chose abortion when they found out the fetus had a severe genetic disease that would result in a brief, painful life.
“How omnipotent the people in this chamber perceive themselves to be to invade my family’s personal decision, moral decision, economic decision, to double the pain,” Glazier said. “We have no right as a state to substitute our judgment for those parents.”