Controversial abortion bill slows a bit following hearing - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Controversial abortion bill slows a bit following hearing

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV/AP) -

House and Senate Republicans say they'll work with Gov. Pat McCrory's administration on a bill requiring new upgraded rules for abortion clinics in North Carolina.

But it's unclear how long legislators are willing to work with him before passing it.
 
Backers of a measure directing regulators to treat clinics like ambulatory surgery centers and mandate that a doctor be present at any abortion procedure said Tuesday they've heard concerns of state health officials worried about the details and how the bill would be carried out. Those issues were raised during a meeting of the House Health Committee in a room packed with supporters and opponents.

Read the bill: HB 695
 
Divided by an aisle and each wearing the color of their cause, blue in favor, pink against, hundreds packed a meeting of the House Health Committee for the debate over that proposed abortion bill. House members spoke first.
 
"The goal is safety, the goal is not to shut down clinics and we will work you all to figure out how to do that in the best way," said Ruth Samuelson, one of the sponsors of HB695.  Samuelson is a Republican representing Mecklenburg County.
 
Rep. Marilyn Avila, a Democrat representing a district that includes Raleigh, spoke next, questioning the intent of the bill.
 
"The intent of this bill is not primarily to protect the health and safety of the women," Avila said.
 
Members of the public and advocacy groups, not allowed to speak when the bill passed the Senate, spoke out during a public comment time.
 
"This bill will only make it more difficult, if not impossible for women in North Carolina to have access to safe and legal abortion care," said Suzanne Buckley, heard of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) in North Carolina.
 
"One of the things that we have failed to remember is that abortion is never safe for the unborn child," said Barbara Holt, head of North Carolina Right to Life. "In every abortion, an unborn child dies."
 
Many of those who were opposed to HB 695 and who could not get into that tight meeting room, instead came out on Halifax Mall in front of the building where a rally was held. It wasn't as big as organizers had hoped, one told me that may be because so many rallied on Monday, and 64 were arrested.
 
Back inside the meeting room after about two hours of debate the committee adjourned without taking action.
 
"We would like to get it done as quickly as possible but we're not going to rush the process unnecessarily, but we'd like to get it done pretty quickly," Samuelson told WBTV.

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