The N.C. General Assembly could place Gov. Pat McCrory in a bind if it sends a series of bills to his desk that critics say would limit access to abortion procedures.
McCrory, who campaigned as a moderate Republican in the 2012 gubernatorial election, pledged to not sign any new bills affecting abortions in the state.
But after the legislature passed new regulations affecting abortions in 2011, lawmakers have proposed a series of new measures this session. The bills would prohibit abortions based on sex and provide protections for physicians who choose not to perform abortions, among other proposals.
John Dinan, political science professor at Wake Forest University, said in an email that ideological leanings will likely not be the deciding factor in McCrory’s decisions on the legislation.
He said McCrory will probably govern on an issue-by-issue basis, and more will be revealed when the bills emerge from the legislature.
The bills would amend the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which was signed into law in 2011. The act established a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could receive an abortion and mandated an ultrasound test.
Senate Bill 308 would require doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a hospital before using their facilities to perform an abortion, a measure opponents say is aimed at private clinics that offer the procedure.
According to research by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that advocates for sexual and reproductive health, there are 31 abortion providers in the state, and 86 percent of counties have no provider.
Sarah Urdzik, president of Carolina Students for Life, said her organization supports the proposed legislation because it will make abortions safer.
“Hospital admitting privileges will help ensure that if something goes wrong during the procedure, she can be admitted for hospital care,” she said.
But Sarah-Kathryn Bryan, president of UNC Feminist Students United, said in an email that the legislation will disadvantage women.
“The proposed legislation violates the sanctity of a woman’s relationship with her medical care provider, as well as her right to control her own body,” she said.
Paige Johnson, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Chapel Hill, said she doesn’t think abortion issues should be legislated.
“Pregnancy decisions are personal and complex, which is why these positions are best made between a woman, her family and a doctor,” she said.
“Politicians have no place in these decisions.”
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