Abortion-rights supporters continue to pressure McCrory

Abortion-rights supporters protest in front of Governor's Mansion (ABC11 Photojournalist Jim Schumacher)
July 30, 2013 1:45:53 PM PDT
Abortion-rights supporters continued to camp outside of Gov. Pat McCrory's executive mansion Tuesday, just a day after he signed a controversial abortion bill into law.

Planned Parenthood had held a 12-hour vigil Monday in a last-ditch effort to get McCrory to veto new regulations that they said would put clinics out of commission.

However on Monday, McCrory signed the legislation the General Assembly passed last week. The measure directs state officials to regulate abortion clinics based on the same standards as those for outpatient surgical centers.

An ambulatory surgical center costs about $1 million more to build than an abortion clinic, state Division of Health Service Regulation (DHHS) director Drexdal Pratt told lawmakers earlier this month. It's unclear how much it would cost existing clinics to convert to higher standards once they are set by DHHS.

Meanwhile, abortion-rights supporters contend McCrory made a campaign promise when he said last fall that he would approve no new restrictions on abortions. However, the governor has said the measure provides safeguards, not restrictions.

"We are appalled that Gov. McCrory broke his campaign promise and we will do everything in our power to let the women of North Carolina know they cannot trust him to stand up to lawmakers intent on denying women access to safe and legal abortion," said Paige Johnson, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central NC.

McCrory's apparent attempt to engage the group Tuesday fell flat. Pictures posted on the Planned Parenthood Facebook Page show the governor coming out to give them cookies. The group posted "We won't take cookies for health care" in response.

Existing abortion clinic regulations haven't been changed since the mid-1990s, Dr. Aldona Wos, the state Health and Human Services secretary, said earlier this month. About half of states now require abortion facilities to meet standards intended for ambulatory surgical centers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks restrictions on abortion rights.

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