North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed legislation limiting abortion access into law Monday night, as abortion rights protesters waged a 12-hour vigil across the street from his executive mansion.
In a statement, McCrory said critics were exaggerating the impact of the law, which will make abortion clinics adopt some of the regulations that apply to ambulatory surgery centers, require pregnant women to take an initial dose of abortion medication under a doctor’s supervision in a clinic, allows health-care providers to opt out of performing abortions if they object. eliminates abortion insurance coverage for city and county employees and bars state residents from paying for the coverage through state health exchange plans.
"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,” he said in the statement.
So far this year, states have adopted at least 51 measures limiting abortion access, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the issue.
Earlier this month McCrory threatened to veto one version of the abortion bill, citing problems with the way it was brought up and concerns the state Department of Health and Human Services had raised about it. The legislature subsequently passed a slightly modified version of the bill.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards issued a statement Monday night calling it "appalling that Governor McCrory would go back on his campaign promise and sign into law legislation that is on the wrong side of public opinion and dangerous for women’s health."
"Over the last month, North Carolina women have stood up to fight back and they aren’t just going to stand by and take this – they’re going to take the energy and enthusiasm that has been built here and run with it.
“While today is a sad day for the people of North Carolina and beyond, the fight is not over," she added. "The record number of sneak attacks on women’s health in North Carolina, Texas and beyond has created a whole new generation of activists who are ready to hold their elected officials accountable."