NC Senate Tacks Sweeping Abortion Legislation Onto Sharia Law Bill
Senators on Tuesday tacked a suite of new restrictions and regulations pertaining to abortion clinics onto a bill dealing with the application of foreign laws in North Carolina family courts.
The measure was unveiled unexpectedly during an unusual late-day committee meeting. It combines several bills in different stages of the legislative process into one omnibus measure.
“They’re doing it quietly on Fourth of July weekend because they’ve seen what’s going on in Texas and know that women will turn out,” said Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, referring to the protests surrounding a similar bill in Texas. She said Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights advocates had no idea the measure would be taken up Tuesday.
Lobbyists with nonprofits that have religious or moral purposes, including the Family Policy Council, Christian Action League and North Carolina Values Coalition, were in the room for the committee debate and the subsequent Senate floor debate. Senators noted that those lobbyists were given notice of the bill and its contents ahead of time.
In a floor speech on Wednesday, state Sen. Josh Stein (D) said that “the irony” about the anti-abortion measures in the anti-Sharia bill is that all but one clinic could be closed, causing more unintended pregnancies because women would not have access to birth control and family planning.
“Furthermore, you shut them down and women are still going to want to have abortions,” he continued. “We as a state and a nation have been there in the ’60s and ’70s, we know what the consequences are. Please, let us not go back to those days.”
“The irony that you all attached these anti-abortion provisions on the anti-Sharia law is really astounding,” Stein pointed out. “That’s what this bill says, it’s about some foreign law, anti-Sharia law. There’s not a single instance of anything like that appearing in the North Carolina courts. And yet, you’re playing to people’s base fears by promoting this.
“When we don’t have anything to fear from the Sharia types, what we have to fear is from the North Carolina General Assembly Republican Senate impinging on people’s fundamental constitutional rights.”