North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said today he will veto a bill that would hold abortion facilities to stricter limits if the state legislature approves it and sends it to his desk.
Abortion backers oppose the bill because they say other abortion clinics may not be able to comply and could be forced to close down. Planned Parenthood said its four centers may be forced to close. The bill passed the Senate, 27-14.
The Family, Faith and Freedom Protection Act would place limits on the funding of abortions by any health plan that received public money, would require clinics to meet more stringent physical standards, would require doctors performing abortions to be physically present during the entire procedure, would ban the possibility of sex-selective abortion and fine abortion practitioners for doing such abortions. It would also allow any health care provider to not participate in abortion-related procedures.
McCrory’s office said the Republican governor would block the measure from taking effect “unless changes and clarifications are made addressing our concerns.” It cites the comments by Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos on Tuesday to a House committee considering the measure after the Senate pushed it quickly through the chamber last week.
Wos said she was worried about provisions directing regulators to develop abortion clinic standards similar to those used to regulate outpatient surgery centers and suggested more study of current rules and more inspectors of existing health facilities.
McCrory said earlier this week he wanted to make sure the health and safety of women are protected, but said some provisions appeared to cross over the line to restricting abortion access.
McCrory “would like to thank those members of the legislature who have been working with the administration to ensure that the bill’s goals and objectives are clearly to protect the health and the safety of women,” the statement said.
Republicans are responding to the veto threat by pushing the bill forward and a House judiciary committee heard proposed changes Wednesday. Charlotte Republican and bill supporter Rep. Ruth Samuelson says the changes will get approval from the governor and the bill would have to have additional votes if changed.
An abortion clinic in the state was shut down earlier this week for posing problems for women’s health.
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Last month, North Carolina officials allowed a southeast Charlotte abortion clinic to reopen, but vow they will closely monitor operations at A Preferred Woman’s Health Center. The abortion clinic was shut down in early May, the second time the clinic has lost its license.
The first occasion was in February 2007, when, as the Charlotte Observer reported, “state investigators found as many as 16 safety and regulatory issues at the clinic, according to a letter DHHS sent the clinic.”
More recently, investigators found that staffers were administering methotrexate (an abortifacient) in liquid form. The regimen requires that methotrexate be injected or taken in pill form.