Will the Governor of North Carolina Keep His Word and Reject Abortion Restrictions?

Advocates predict that Gov. McCrory may "[keep] his word in a literal sense, while absolutely scamming North Carolina voters in every other sense."

As the bill winds its way through the legislature and inevitably stops at the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, he will once more be faced with whether to uphold his campaign promise and refuse to sign laws restriction abortion access. James Willamor / flickr

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina ran for governor during an election cycle that was nothing but bad news for candidates trying to appear moderate with regard to women’s health-care access. McCrory made a vow in his final debate that if elected, he would sign no abortion restrictions into law. Now, the governor is in a tight spot as he faces pressure from others in his party to sign the latest restrictions anti-choice legislators have put into place. So what will he do?

Among the bills that are scheduled to arrive shortly at the governor’s desk for signature are a ban on “gender selection” abortions, an expansion of “conscience clause protections,” and a piece of targeted regulations of abortion provider (TRAP) legislation, which would require abortion clinics to obtain hospital admitting privileges as well as mandate how long a doctor must remain at the clinic when there are patients in the room.

However, the governor has another option. He could avoid breaking his promise, yet still allow the bills to become law, leaving anti-choice activists happy.

“My prediction? McCrory will not actually sign any bills that further restrict abortion, but neither will he veto them,” writes James Protzman at the blog Blue NC. “As a result, all of the bills will become law anyway, without any action on his part. Thus he will be keeping his word in a literal sense, while absolutely scamming North Carolina voters in every other sense.”

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina vows that if Gov. McCrory attempts to use lack of action as a way to have his cake and eat it too, the reproductive rights organization will count that as a broken promise to the electorate.

“In the final gubernatorial debate, Governor McCrory promised not to support any restrictions to a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion care in North Carolina. We will consider anything less than a veto of legislation aimed at limiting access to abortion care as a breach of this promise,” Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, told Rewire. “Frankly, it sends a message to North Carolina voters that they can no longer trust his word.”