Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he’s not breaking a campaign promise by signing an abortion bill, despite what critics say.
Asked during his 2012 campaign what, if any, restrictions to abortion he would support as governor, McCrory replied, “None.”
“I have followed that promise,” he told reporters Thursday. “In fact, if anything, I ensured that bill was written so women would not be denied access, further access. We worked very closely with legislative leaders and legislative members … to ensure that no access would be denied.”
McCrory made his first public comments since announcing Wednesday that he would sign HB 465. The bill will go to his desk after the House on Wednesday endorsed Senate changes in the legislation.
The bill would extend the waiting period for an abortion from one day to three. North Carolina would become the fourth state with a 72-hour waiting period, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Outside his office, about two dozen abortion rights protesters accused McCrory of breaking his promise.
“Mandatory delays impede abortion access,” said Dr. Matthew Zerden, an obstetrician from the Triangle. “HB 465 is a clear restriction on safe, legal abortion.”
Critics also took aim at a part of the bill that requires any physician performing or advising an abortion after 16 weeks of pregnancy to document the reason and send an ultrasound to state health officials.
“This is a betrayal to all of the women of North Carolina,” Democratic Sen. Terry Van Duyn of Asheville told reporters. “Politicians are again inserting themselves between a woman and her doctor. They need to stop.”
The final version of the bill, whose main sponsors included GOP Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte, excluded some of what was in earlier versions. At one point, for example, only board certified OB/GYNs could perform abortions. They’re now done by other doctors, including family physicians. And the initial bill would have prohibited medical schools at UNC Chapel Hill or East Carolina University from offering abortions.
“The fact of the matter is that due to my work and others’ work we did not add further restrictions to access,” McCrory said. “Previously … there were things added to that bill that I thought did restrict further access … and I worked hard to remove those parts.”