Tuesday evening, North Carolina's Republican-controlled state Senate suddenly and without warning—at least to opponents—moved forward with an anti-abortion bill that would prevent all but one clinic in the state from providing abortions. The outlines of the restrictions
will be familiar: forcing clinics to meet the standards of outpatient surgical centers, requiring clinics to have transfer agreements with local hospitals, requiring a doctor to be present throughout the administration of a medical abortion (which, since a medical abortion involves taking pills two days apart, is a somewhat hazy requirement), and more.
North Carolina Republicans appear to have learned their lessons from the organized opposition to Texas' anti-abortion bill, and rushed theirs to the floor of the Senate in epically sneaky fashion:
The proposed abortion restrictions were brought up in a Senate committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. The committee was scheduled to discuss a bill disallowing the use of Islamic law in family matters such as divorce, child custody and alimony. The abortion legislation was attached to that bill.
A few hours later, Senate Republicans voted to waive their rules to allow a floor vote. Lobbyists that supported the bill, including representatives from N.C. Values Coalition, the N.C. Family Policy Council and N.C. Right to Life, were at the committee meeting. Lobbyists opposed to the bill were not told it was being debated.
How's that for irony? The Tarheelban uses an anti-Sharia law bill to impose their own form of religious law.
The Senate has a final vote Wednesday, before the House takes up the restrictions, some of which it has already approved in separate bills. NARAL was calling for opponents of the bill to rally outside the state legislative building Wednesday morning.
9:44 AM PT: Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who said while running for governor that he didn't want to sign additional abortion restrictions, is not happy with the process by which Republicans in the legislature are pushing this bill through. He's not saying whether he'll sign the bill, but it could become law without his signature.