ON WEDNESDAY, just before the Fourth of July holiday, North Carolina Republicans added a slew of anti-abortion restrictions at the last minute to a bill otherwise concerned with banning Sharia law (already a questionable endeavor, but never mind that now).
Following Virginia, whose General Assembly voted in 2011 to require abortion clinics to meet hospital — rather than doctor’s office — standards, ostensibly in the name of safety, the North Carolina Senate joined a growing number of state legislatures mandating stricter standards for abortion clinics. Safety in abortion clinics is a legitimate concern, but these regulations probably will have little effect on patient safety.
Many of the requirements are costly and cosmetic, requiring clinics — without financial assistance from the state — to widen hallways, doorways and even entrance awnings. North Carolina’s bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to devise a list of criteria the state’s 16 clinics would have to meet. According to women’s health advocates, all but one of the clinics probably would close because of the associated costs.