Abortion rules were slipped into a motorcycle safety bill, without notice, by North Carolina Republican lawmakers. Senate Bill 353 was approved yesterday by the House Judiciary Committee and will go for a final vote in the Senate soon. Senate Bill 353, will not only change safety standards for motorcyclists in North Carolina, but will also allow strict regulations to be enforced on the state’s 31 abortion clinics, possibly forcing a number of clinics to shut down.
The original abortion provisions were included in House Bill 695, a bill proposing that foreign laws, including Islamic Sharia law, be kept out of state proceedings. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) threatened to kill HB 695, stating that the bill’s provisions must be revised to address his concerns about the health and safety of women.
Instead, lawmakers revised the rules and slyly dumped the abortion language into Senate Bill 353 in an attempt to fast-track the legislation. Democrats in the House had no idea that the abortion provisions were being added to Senate Bill 353 and allegedly found out about the addition just minutes before the House Judiciary Committee meeting. However, with Senate Bill 353 passing in the House, North Carolina Republicans have successfully reintroduced the original provisions of HB 695 for debate.
“It is disappointing that the state House leadership continues to ignore its citizens who are calling upon state lawmakers to protect access to safe and legal abortion care in North Carolina – a constitutional right,” North Carolina Women United, a progressive women’s advocacy group, said in a statement on their website. “The leadership’s underhanded, last-minute process of ‘gut and amend’ does not hold up to the high standards of public office that we expect in North Carolina. Slipping bills through the legislative process at the very end of a legislative session without public notice or input is simply unacceptable. This is an issue that calls for open and honest dialogue, and citizen input. Women and their families deserve better.”
Sneaking provisions into unrelated bills to allow for their passing is not a new tactic for lawmakers, and, unfortunately, it seems to be a growing trend on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers trying to push an agenda will use this “sneak-attack” method to easily and quickly pass a controversial law while also limiting public awareness.
One of the most recent “sneak-attacks” was that of the controversial Monsanto Protection Act, a law that protects Monsanto from litigation and grants them the ability to temporarily override court orders to plant genetically-engineered crops and was slipped into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill and passed into law in mid-March of this year.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.