Abortion bill to close 15 NC clinics? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Abortion bill to close 15 NC clinics?

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CHARLOTTE (WBTV) - The new abortion bill, if signed into law by Governor McCrory, would dramatically change the way abortions are provided in North Carolina, and opponents say it will shut down nearly every clinic that provides abortions, including three in Charlotte.

There would be changes in insurance. The bill would prohibit abortion coverage in insurance plans offered by cities and counties. As far as local clinics go, even once it becomes law, this bill will have months of fin tuning to come up with the new standards clinics will have to meet.

Supporters argued it was about safety for women, not about restricting access.

"The goal is not to shut down clinics and we will work with you all to figure out how to do that in the best way," said Representative Ruth Samuelson, A Republican representing Mecklenburg County.

But opponents argued that the regulations in the bill would make it more difficult for women to get abortions.

"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 Barkley, head of the National Abortion Rights Action League.

Opponents say that will happen because 15 of the 16 licensed abortion clinics in North Carolina will have to close based on the cost of making upgrades to fit the new standards. Only the one in Asheville, which is part of a walk in surgery center, already meets requirements likely to be put in place.

The new requirements are not clear yet, but will be worked out with the state Department of Health and Human Services. While some changes could be minor, others may require building a new building.

Planned Parenthood operates several of the clinics in North Carolina and organized fierce opposition to the new bill. Some suggested that opposition was based on the loss of income the group would suffer if clinics closed.

According to its own financial report, the group gets about 15% of its revenue from abortion services, and the head of Planned Parenthood in North Carolina told WBTV that the group provides much more than abortions.

"Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients, no matter what," said Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood of North Carolina.  "And in every state where we operate we have reached out to our donors and supporters to help us create the necessary funds so that we can be here. Our top priority is serving our patients and their health and well being and safety."

Stand alone clinics aren't the only places that provide abortions, but according to the state, that's where the majority of abortions are performed.

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