NC Senate Pulls A Texas Sneak With Last-Minute Abortion Bill

In a surprise move last night, a North Carolina Senate Republicans amended a bill introduced to ban Sharia law and inserted language that would force closure of all but one of the state's abortion clinics. A House staffer reported that there was “no sign of this bill until barely 2 hours before the vote took place.”

Even as the Texas state legislature was back in session to again debate the restrictive abortion bill defeated there last week, the new language introduced in North Carolina would force Planned Parenthood to close all its clinics in the state, said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, the Senate Minority Leader during debate.

Objections by Democrats focused mainly on the process by which the measure reached the floor:

"This bill and this process is not worthy of this chamber," said Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake. He said the process used circumvented the public's ability to see and hear about legislation before it is passed.

Nesbitt cautioned, “We're sitting in here tonight and you're going to win this debate and feel really good about yourself because all you big, grown-up, grey-haired men have beat three women. I want to see what you do with about 10,000 of them. Because they're coming. They're coming. They're not going to put up with you doing this to them...”

Raleigh radio host Jeanne Milliken Bonds (Plain Talk Politics) was in the chamber for the vote and observed, “This type of maneuver happens in legislative sessions, however, that does not make it right or good governing. The public is skeptical at best right now about their legislature as evidenced by polls. Women will activate a statewide network and make their presence known tomorrow for third reading and at the voting booth in 2014.”

The bill, H695, passed its second reading by preliminary vote of 27-14. A final vote on Wednesday would send the bill back to the House.

Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said legislators are trying to sneak through new restrictions they know the public doesn’t want.

“It seems to me that they’re trying to pass under cover of darkness legislation that would not otherwise be passed,” she said. “They’re trying to pull a Texas.”

Women's groups are organizing to arrive by 9 a.m. EDT for Wednesday session.


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