On Monday, motorcycles escorted protestors to the North Carolina governor’s mansion for an ongoing “veto vigil.” Later that evening, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law SB 353, a motorcycle safety bill that was amended with multiple anti-choice restrictions.
SB 353 was passed during the final evening of the state legislature last week, capping off a highly divisive session that saw significant decreases in the approval ratings for both the legislature and the governor.
Despite there being no more bills to consider in the state legislature, this week’s Moral Monday protest went on; in fact, it was described as the largest Moral Monday protest yet.
Meanwhile, reproductive rights advocates, led by the Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund of North Carolina, spent all day at the “veto vigil” to remind the governor of his campaign promise not to sign anti-choice restrictions into law. The protestors were outside the governor’s mansion when it was announced that McCrory had signed SB 353. According to The News & Observer, the activists paused for a moment of silence before returning to their chanting. The protestors intend to continue their vigil until Tuesday night.
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SB 353 will ban telemedicine and sex-selective abortions as well as coverage of abortion care in insurance plans in the state insurance exchange. It will also require the state board of health to choose which of the licensing requirements for ambulatory surgical centers should also apply to abortion clinics, a move that many predict could close clinics in the state. Only one abortion provider in the state currently meets the full licensing requirements used by ambulatory surgical centers.
“It is incredibly disappointing that Governor McCrory has broken his campaign promise and signed an extreme law that will severely restrict abortion access and comprehensive health care for countless North Carolina women,” Sarah Preston, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said in a statement. “Measures such as these, which can have a terribly detrimental impact on women’s access to much-needed health care, should not be rushed through the legislature with little opportunity for meaningful public input, as this one was.”