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McCrory says he'd sign House abortion bill

Updated Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday said he would sign the House version of the abortion bill if it comes to his desk, but that he would still veto the Senate’s version if that’s what passes the General Assembly.

“The recent House version allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women’s safety,” McCrory said in a statement his office released. “I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill which will better protect women while not further limiting access.”

Senate Democratic Leader Martin Nesbitt responded in a written statement.

“Women across North Carolina are learning the hard way that Pat McCrory would have said just about anything to become governor," Nesbitt said. "If you’re going to make a promise in a campaign, you’d better keep it – because nobody’s going to forget. ... I think we’ve learned that Pat McCrory will say anything to make folks like him, but the people of North Carolina don’t need empty promises. We need someone who will stand up and lead.”

McCrory in a campaign debate in October said he would not sign any new restrictions on abortions into law. On Monday, reacting to the Senate’s abortion clinic regulation bill, he said there was a distinction between safety measures and restrictions, and that he wanted to be sure women’s health was protected. On Wednesday, he threatened to use his veto power for the first time if his concerns weren’t addressed.

The House then crafted a new bill in consultation with the governor’s administration, which the full House approved on Thursday. It would impose new regulations on abortion clinics, among other provisions.

But no one yet knows what those regulations might be, and so it is difficult to argue whether they are safeguards or actually restrictions that end up blocking women’s access to abortions. The state Department of Health and Human Services can develop temporary rules, without legislative approval, before coming up with permanent rules.

There are not many differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. But the main difference is the Senate bill would require abortion clinics meet the same standards as outpatient surgery centers. Only one clinic in the state meets those stringent standards and 16 others could have to close because they couldn’t afford to upgrade.


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"But no one yet knows what those regulations might be, and so it is difficult to argue whether they are safeguards or actually restrictions that end up blocking women’s access to abortions."

That may be true of the regulation portion of the bill. But the reporting yesterday was that House bill also added multiple restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. There is no question that THOSE a) have nothing at all to do with safety and b) absolutely restrict access.

That alone makes this a clear, inarguable violation of his campaign pledge.

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