House committee debates new abortion bill, no public notice

Update 7/11: House debates abortion restrictions bill.

A new abortion bill is currently being discussed by House Judiciary Committee B in a room with no audio/livestream capabilities. WRAL reports that SB 353 — previously the motorcycle safety act — is essentially HB 695 but with language instructing DHHS to amend regulations “while not unduly restricting access.” The bill is not yet available online. The public was not notified.

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

Twitter users with live updates from the room: @NCCapitol @sprestonlegis @DeansEatman @carinsavel @JoeSamQueenNC
@RAndersonMiller @PPHSNC @PPCNC

Update 12:03 PM:

More information from the N&O:

Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, an Apex Republican leading the House effort, said the new measure mollifies McCrory’s concerns. McCrory’s lobbyist appeared to work with the bill’s chief supporters before the meeting, but it’s still unclear how McCrory would act on the amended bill.

News & Observer – McCrory says he’ll veto abortion bill unless ‘changes are made;’ House discusses its own bill

Update 11:44 AM:

SB 353 passes Judiciary Committee B 10-5 along party lines.

Coverage from The Washington Post:

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Wednesday morning that he will veto an abortion restrictions bill moving through the state legislature unless his administration’s concerns are addressed.

Within hours of that threat, state House Republicans reportedly pressed forward on the matter, inserting less-restrictive abortion requirements into an unrelated bill. Supporters say the new language addresses McCrory’s concerns.

Washington Post – McCrory threatens veto as N.C. abortion bill moves forward

Update 11:04 AM: 

Rep. Samuelson says notice was not given because language was being finalized until the last minute. “We’re late in the session, and this is the way you get things done late in the session sometimes.”

Here’s the bill Democratic Reps thought they would be discussing, if you’re curious: Original text of the Motorcycle Safety Act.

Via Planned Parenthood:

“It is a disgrace to North Carolina that legislators have again resorted to sneak attacks to move their anti-women’s health agenda forward,” said Melissa Reed, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Health Systems. “Once again there was no public notice that this bill would be heard. The public and even many legislators on the committee only learned this was a possibility at 9:57am [three minutes before the committee was to meet] when a political reporter was tipped off and posted it on Twitter. This is outrageous and not how the people’s business should be conducted.”

Update: 10:49 AM

Via the N&O:

Hours after Gov. Pat McCrory issued a veto threat for a controversial abortion bill, House Republicans — acting without public notice — took a bill about motorcycle safety and put in abortion language.

The new bill — S353 — represents tweaks to the version that passed the Senate last week but still includes some of the contentious language. It calls for a physician to be present when the first drug in a chemical abortion is administrated, as opposed to all drugs, under the version that passed the Senate last week.

Another major change: abortion clinics no longer are required to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. But the state Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to apply those standards as it sees “applicable.” The bill also includes a state study to determine what resources are necessary for the state health agency to adequately enforce the new regulations and pays for more inspectors.

News & Observer – Without notice, House rushes forward new abortion bill

Rep. Joe Queen, a member of the committee, tweeted during the hearing:

 

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