McCrory stays mum on how he would handle NC abortion bill

pkelley@charlotteobserver.comJuly 4, 2013 

— Gov. Pat McCrory doled out handshakes and hailed parade-goers as he rode in this Rowan County town’s Fourth of July parade Thursday, but he wouldn’t say what he’d do about a controversial abortion bill if it reaches his desk.

That question has been on many minds in North Carolina this week, after the N.C. Senate Wednesday approved sweeping new rules that could limit abortions. The bill now goes to the N.C. House.

The legislation would require N.C. abortion clinics to meet tougher standards similar to those governing outpatient surgery clinics. As a result, critics say, it would effectively close the majority of the state’s 16 abortion clinics. It would also require doctors to be present when women take pills to induce abortions.

Supporters of the legislation say those rules are necessary to keep women safe. Opponents say they’re simply an attempt to restrict abortions.

The bill came as a surprise to most people Tuesday evening when it emerged for a preliminary vote in the Senate without public notice. By Wednesday morning, hundreds of protesters had converged on the legislature.

In a statement on Wednesday, McCrory criticized the lack of public notice.

“When the Democrats were in power, this is the way they did business,” he said. “It was not right then and it is not right now. Regardless of what party is in charge or what important issue is being discussed, the process must be appropriate and thorough.”

But his statement didn’t offer an opinion about the bill itself or say what he’d do if it reaches his desk. He would have three options: Veto it, sign it or let it become law without signing it. During his campaign last year, McCrory pledged that he wouldn’t sign any further restrictions on abortion.

As McCrory prepared Thursday morning to ride in Faith’s annual parade, the Charlotte Observer asked him if he would allow the bill to become law if the House approved it. He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he said his statement on Wednesday speaks for itself.

“No legislation should be done that way,” he said.

Asked whether he believes the proposed legislation is about safety or about restricting abortions, McCrory said he hadn’t seen the bill. He plans to let the legislative process continue, he said.

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