UPDATED: Gov. Pat McCrory expressed concern Wednesday about the process the N.C. Senate used to bring a sweeping abortion bill to the floor Tuesday.
"When the Democrats were in power, this is the way they did business," McCrory said in a statement, his first on House Bill 695, a controversial anti-abortion measure. "It was not right then and it is not right now. Regardless of what party is in charge or what important issue is being discussed, the process must be appropriate and thorough."
McCrory, a Republican, did not comment on the legislation itself. In the campaign, he said he did not support future restrictions on abortion. It's unclear whether he would veto this legislation if it comes to his desk.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper went a step further in a statement Wednesday. "Restricting the health care rights of women is not only bad public policy, but it will ignite even more constitutional challenges in court," he said.
In the bill debate, Republicans rejected any suggestion that the process was compromised. State Sen. Tom Apodaca, the No. 2 Republican, responded to Democrats' concerns about the process calling it nonsense.
Senate leader Phil Berger later released a statement dismissing the governor's criticism.
"It’s understandable that he is not familiar with it," he said, going on to suggest the process was transparent.
His statement continued:
The provisions included in HB 695 were filed months ago. Most were debated at length and passed the House weeks ago.
The public has had ample time to review these proposals and voice their opinions – and they have all along, on both sides of the issue through phone calls and emails.
HB 695 was debated at length in the Senate Judiciary I committee and over the course of two days on the Senate floor, consistent with Senate Rules and North Carolina’s open meetings laws.
Unlike our Democratic predecessors, Senate Republicans have never stopped debate of any bill, including this one."