The Republican-controlled North Carolina House on Thursday passed new regulations on abortion clinics, using a last minute tactic of tagging them onto a motorcycle-safety bill.
Democrats are furious, accusing the Republicans of a "sneak attack" and claiming they were given advance no notice of the bill.
The bill was a version of one that passed in the state Senate but revised to address concerns raised by GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who had threatened to veto the Senate version.
Republicans say the measure will protect women.
"We've looked at the documented complaints," said state Rep. Sarah Stevens
. "Don't tell me this isn't about health and safety. That is exactly what it's about."
"We know that abortion is out there, but it should be safe and clean and sterile as well as legal."
The bill passed by an overwhelming 74-41, and now moves to the state Senate.
The abortion measure is similar to efforts in other states to regulate abortion clinics
by placing new requirements on women's health clinics, which critics say could force some to close down.
It also allows the state Health Department to create temporary rules at will for abortion clinics; prohibits government-administered insurance plans — including those under Obamacare — from paying for abortions; and requires a doctor to be present when a patient is administered abortion-inducing drugs.
"This is really all about protecting the health and safety of women," said state Republican state Rep. Ruth Samuelson, according to The New York Times.
"We are not out here trying to shut down every abortion clinic in North Carolina."
"Problems do exist in some of our abortion clinics, and that's what we're trying to address," she said.
Democrats, however, were scathing about the bill, and the way it was introduced
"This is an anti-woman bill in disguise, a wolf in sheep's clothing," claimed Democratic state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, according to WRAL
television in Raleigh.
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