On Thursday afternoon, the North Carolina House approved SB 353, a motorcycle safety bill that includes several unrelated amendments related to limiting abortion access. Just yesterday, House Republicans quietly attached the abortion restrictions to the legislation without any public notice. Both Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) and Democratic lawmakers in the state have criticized the stealth tactics that Republicans are currently using to push through more restrictions on reproductive care.
In protest of their legislature’s decision to rush through the anti-abortion measures — which include harsh regulations on abortion providers and restrictions on medication abortions — women’s health advocates donned motorcycle helmets in the House gallery on Thursday:
Earlier in the day, protesters outside the capitol building made a similar statement in reference to SB 353:
The legislation, which was approved by the North Carolina Senate in its original form back in April, must head back to the Senate for final approval now that it includes the new abortion amendments. Since SB 353 now combines multiple different issues into one transportation bill, its new name is 140 words long. 123 words in the title refer to anti-abortion measures. Just the last 17 reference the bill’s original subject matter, motorcycle safety.
This isn’t the first bill that North Carolina Republicans have used as a vehicle for abortion restrictions. Earlier this month, they attempted to attach nearly identical anti-abortion amendments to a controversial bill banning Sharia law. When the state’s GOP governor threatened to veto that legislation, Republicans moved onto motorcycle safety instead.