RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- Critics are crying foul after they say Republicans pushed a bill through the state Senate last night and this morning that opponents say restricts abortions in North Carolina.
A gallery full of protestors watched as Republicans led the vote to give final approval to legislation requiring additional rules surrounding abortions. The bill would prohibit gender-selective abortions, restrict abortion insurance coverage and require a physician be physically present during an entire surgical abortion.
"The laws that were enacted put safeguards in to protect patients," Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) said. "Physicians are required to perform surgical procedures. The Department of Health and Human Services is developing guidelines for safe clinics. We've got numerous violations in our state. The bill overall is not only about protecting patients' rights, but Constitutional rights."
Outside the Legislative Building and in the Senate gallery, protestors made their opinions clear. Planned Parenthood says the bill could shut down abortion providers. Critics say Republicans late Tuesday quietly added the abortion provisions to a bill to prohibit the use of foreign law, such as Sharia law, in North Carolina courts.
Among those critics is Republican Gov. Pat Mccrory, who said in a statement, "When the Democrats were in power, this is the way they did business. It was not right then and it is not right now. Regardless of what party is in charge or what important issue is being discussed, the process must be appropriate and thorough."
McCrory did not say if he would sign the bill, which now goes back to the House, if it reaches his desk. Goolsby says he does not understand why so many people are upset.
"I just know that I was present for all of the debate, that no debate was cut off, that we had two full days debate; much more debate than we even had on the tax bill," Goolsby said.
Attorney General Roy Cooper also spoke out about the vote. In a statement he said, "Restricting the health care rights of women is not only bad public policy, but it will ignite even more Constitutional challenges in court."