After a long and passionate debate, the N.C. Senate Thursday tentatively passed a bill that would make North Carolina the fourth state to require women to wait 72 hours before getting an abortion.
The bill also would require abortion providers to be certified obstetrician/gynecologists, which abortion rights advocates say would limit the number of doctors who could perform abortions.
HB 465 tentatively passed 33-14. It’s expected to win final approval Monday, sending it to a conference committee where Senate and House members will negotiate differences in the House and Senate versions. The bill would then go to Gov. Pat McCrory.
The Senate bill also included what one Democrat called “common-sense criminal reform measures” that would, among other things, expand the definition of statutory rape make it easier to collect child support payments through administrative changes.
Sen. Shirley Randleman, a Wilkesboro Republican and co-sponsor, said the bill was designed to protect women and children.
But Democrats called it legislative intrusion into a personal decision.
“This bill is another attempt by the legislature to play doctor,” said Democratic Sen. Terry Van Duyn of Asheville.
“We have a brain, we have bodies,” said Sen. Senator Erica Smith-Ingram, a Democrat from northeast North Carolina. “You have no ability to understand this decision made by women about their bodies. It is a very difficult decision… It is insulting to say that I cannot make up my mind and I need 72 hours to consider my options.”
Republicans turned back five Democratic amendments. One would have reduced the wait period for an abortion from 72 to 48 hours. Another would have removed the requirement for certified OB/GYNs.
Virtually all the votes passed along party lines.
“I guess if this body could overturn Roe v. Wade they would,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. of Durham. “But the next best thing is to put up one hurdle after another.”