Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) on Friday promised to sign into law a series of new restrictions that will limit women’s access to abortion coverage in North Carolina and likely shutter all but one of the state’s abortion clinics. McCrory will sign the bill despite a campaign pledge he made last year saying he would not enact any new abortion legislation as governor.
Under the new law, which legislators approved late Thursday night, health insurance offered in North Carolina’s Obamacare insurance marketplaces would be barred from covering abortion. City and county employees would also lose health insurance benefits that help pay for abortions. Furthermore, the law subjects abortion clinics to building code and facility standards akin to those mandated for surgical centers. Of North Carolina’s 16 clinics, 15 don’t meet those elevated standards, leading advocates to fear the law will leave just one abortion clinic open in the entire state.
The anti-abortion provisions were quietly placed into a bill ostensibly dealing with motorcycle safety in the Tar Heel State. Obstetricians and gynecologists have slammed the proposed regulations as unnecessary and even told North Carolina lawmakers to “get out of our exam rooms.”
McCrory oscillated between supporting the measures and issuing veto threats while the North Carolina legislature made adjustments to the bill. He confirmed his intention to sign the law during a press conference on Friday.