North Carolina's state Senate voted Tuesday to pass a second reading of a measure placing tougher restrictions on abortion after Republicans in the legislature tacked the abortion regulations on to a bill targeting Sharia law.
The state Senate passed the second reading of the omnibus bill by 27-14. A final vote will be held Wednesday.
The bill, according to the News & Observer, would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers. Just one clinic in the state currently meets that standard, according to staffers in the state legislature. The sweeping legislation would also place limits on health care coverage for abortion procedures, require clinics to have "transfer agreements" with hospitals, and require doctors to be present when women take RU486, the drug that induces abortions.
The bill cleared a Senate committtee earlier Tuesday. WRAL reports:
The measure was unveiled unexpectedly during an unusual late-day committee meeting Tuesday. It combines several bills in different stages of the legislative process into one omnibus measure.
Until 5:30 p.m., the measure on the committee's calendar only reflected a bill that dealt with the family law provisions of the bill. That measure itself was controversial when it cleared the House, with opponents fearing it could interfere with recognition of U.S. law in foreign courts.
However, almost immediately, the committee took up an amendment to the bill that dealt with abortion.
The decision to attach the abortion bill to the measure banning "foreign laws" drew fire from pro-choice advocates.
“It seems to me that they’re trying to pass under cover of darkness legislation that would not otherwise be passed,” NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina executive director Suzanne Buckley said. “They’re trying to pull a Texas.”