Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

McCrory signs NC abortion bill as protesters hold vigil outside governor’s mansion

By Annalise Frank
afrank@newsobserver.com

More Information

  • Other major bills Gov. McCrory signed into law Monday:

    • A gun-rights bill, House Bill 937, expands the public places where people with concealed-carry permits can take their handguns, strengthens federal background checks for the weapons and toughens penalties for certain gun-related crimes.

    • Children with disabilities will be given $3,000-per-semester scholarship grants to attend nonpublic schools under House Bill 269.

    • A human trafficking measure, Senate Bill 683, will give protection to minors and the severely mentally ill when they’re charged with prostitution or are otherwise a victim in a human trafficking case. It also increases punishments for sex traffickers.

    • The “Domestic Energy Jobs Act,” Senate Bill 76, calls for the Mining and Energy Commission to study development of the oil and gas energy sectors. McCrory called it a “step in the right direction” but said it doesn’t go far enough.

    • Senate Bill 379 creates economic development incentives programs to fund agricultural projects involving natural gas and propane pipelines.



RALEIGH While Planned Parenthood supporters held a 12-hour vigil across the street from the Executive Mansion, Gov. Pat McCrory signed the very bill they were rallying against.

McCrory’s office issued a statement Monday evening saying the governor had signed a number of high-profile bills, including the abortion bill, a gun-rights bill and a scholarship grant for children with disabilities to attend nonpublic schools.

In a statement, McCrory said those who oppose the abortion bill are putting politics before women’s health.

“This law does not further limit access, and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens,” the statement said.

Abortion-rights protestors outside McCrory’s residence gathered to denounce a bill they say will restrict access to safe and legal abortions. They earlier had called for McCrory to veto the measure – noting the campaign promise he made last year not to sign any legislation that would further restrict access to abortions.

When those gathered outside the mansion heard that the governor signed the bill into law, it got quiet for a minute or two while everyone absorbed the news, said Michelle Roberts, who lives in Raleigh.

“But then everyone got motivated again,” she said.

They recommenced their shouting and sign-swinging.

“He has signed the most restrictive access to safe and legal abortions this state has ever seen,” said Melissa Reed, the vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood. “We will make sure women know Gov. McCrory can’t be trusted.”

The group planned to circle the block with motorcycles Monday night, a nod to the fact that the abortion language was inserted into a bill about motorcycle safety in the final days of the just-ended legislative session.

It will continue with another 12-hour vigil on Tuesday. Reed said the protests would have a renewed focus on getting people registered to vote.

The abortion legislation, Senate Bill 353, requires clinics that perform the procedure to meet standards similar to surgical centers. It also says health care providers can opt out of performing an abortion if it’s against their beliefs. And it would stop government insurance plans from paying for the procedure.

McCrory had threatened to veto a more stringent version of the bill passed by the Senate, citing his campaign promise. But softened language in the House’s version of the bill changed McCrory’s mind.

“It is incredibly disappointing that Gov. McCrory has broken his campaign promise and signed an extreme law that will severely restrict abortion access and comprehensive health care for countless North Carolina women,” Sarah Preston, policy director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a emailed statement.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, had earlier Monday called on McCrory to sign the bill. The coalition did not respond to further requests for comment.

“The handful of Immoral Monday protesters who are gathered at the Governor’s Mansion today do not represent the majority of North Carolinians,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “ ... Gov. McCrory’s promise to sign SB 353 was a great advance for unborn children and women in North Carolina. ... We appreciate the governor’s promise to sign the bill and urge him to sign it as soon as possible.”

Frank: 919-829-4870
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com