Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively passed a measure that would require all abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
The rules that would regulate abortion clinics were inserted Tuesday evening into another bill prohibiting the application of foreign laws in state courtrooms. The proposed regulations also include a measure requiring a physician to be present during an abortion. That could make it complicated for doctors to provide non-surgical abortions in which patients take pills to end a pregnancy.
Republican Sen. Warren Daniel said the measure helps protect patients' safety.
"You either think they deserve the right to walk into a clinic that's clean and safe or you don't," Daniel said.
"You shouldn't have two standards for surgical centers in the state of North Carolina. We should have one."
But Democratic Sen. Josh Stein replied the bill isn't about safety. He said the measure would shut down most of the clinics that provide abortions in the state.
"There is one in this entire state that meets that standard," Stein claimed.
"An abortion is less risky than a colonoscopy. It's less risky than a dental procedure. Are we going to require dentists to meet surgical ambulatory center standards?"
The bill is going back to the Senate floor for a final vote Wednesday.