Fresh off of a veto threat on an anti-Sharia bill that was slyly tricked-out with anti-abortion measures, the North Carolina legislature made a second attempt at a chimaera abortion bill, this time co-opting legislation on motorcycle safety.
Senate Bill 353, formerly known as the "Motorcycle Safety Act," has a new, not particularly snappy nickname: "Health and Safety Law Changes." But, good news for motorcycle enthusiasts: the gutted bill at least keeps the motorcycle-related proposals. The new version of the bill is meant to address North Carolina governor Pat McCrory's promise to veto the anti-Sharia/anti-abortion hybrid bill. Essentially, McCrory said previously that he wants to keep the state's abortion laws the same as they are now. And now, it looks like Republicans may have worked with someone from McCrory's office to come up with something — anything — he'd sign that includes new abortion restricting measures. But it's still not clear whether the governor is cool with even this bill, which removes some key components of its previous iteration. The new version, which has been reported on by the Charlotte News-Observer and the Associated Press, isn't even on the North Carolina General Assembly's site yet. Some outlets have posted a scanned PDF of the changes:
Unlike the state House's anti-Sharia bill, known as the "Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act of 2013," the new measure wouldn't require abortion-providing clinics in the state to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers. That requirement, one of the hallmarks of so-called TRAP abortion bills, would effectively prompt the closure of clinics in the state. The bill, however, would allow the state's Department of Health and Human Services to apply those standards to abortion clinics at their discretion, "while not unduly restricting access." The new bill also steps back from a requirement that a physician be present for the administration of all drugs involved in a chemical abortion. Instead, a doctor is required to be in the room only for the first pill. But some measures already passed in the House remain. The bill would ban sex-selective abortions, provide a conscience objection for health care professionals and institutions, and prohibit Obamacare healthcare exchanges or taxpayer-funded health insurance plans from covering almost any abortion.
The Kermit Gosnell trial is, to be sure, the conservative catalyst for the latest push of abortion legislation. And some of these bills will pass. In Texas, for example, the anti-abortion bill that led to Wendy Davis's filibuster attempt could pass both houses of state legislature by Friday. But that push has been met with a push back, which has the effect of making sure the legal shenanigans surrounding these new bills becomes a story in its own right.