North Carolina Senator Criticizes Anti-Abortion Amendment Tacked on Unrelated Bill

| by Amanda Schallert
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A North Carolina state senator criticized senate Republicans for pinning anti-abortion measures onto a bill related to the status of foreign laws in state courts on Wednesday.

Sen. Josh Stein bashed his fellow senators, who on Tuesday attached an amendment limiting the ability of women to obtain abortions in the state to an anti-Sharia law bill right before the senate voted on it, according to the Raw Story.

The bill passed, despite protests from senate Democrats that the public and other senators had not been notified of the anti-abortion provisions until right before the bill went to a vote, according to WRAL.com.

The initial measure, House Bill 695, only prohibited family courts in North Carolina from recognizing foreign laws such as the Islamic Sharia law.

But the last minute amendments to the bill included a “conscience protection” clause, which would allow any health care provider to refuse to provide abortions, and other laws that would make it illegal for any state funds to go towards funding abortion clinics.

"They're really putting a barrier in the way to access," said Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems.

Reed said senators who attached the amendment did so without notifying the public and pro-choice senators because they did not want to experience backlash from their opposition. She referred to a recent controversial anti-abortion bill in Texas that about 400 people protested, causing a large disruption in the state senate.

In his speech Wednesday, Stein said the new bill would cause more women to have unintended pregnancies, as it limits access to birth control. He also said the bill would force women to have abortions that were unsafe.

“You shut (abortion clinics) down and women are still going to want to have abortions,” Stein said. “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.”

Sources: The Raw Story, WRAL.com