On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law controversial abortion restrictions folded into a bill on motorcycle safety, sparking protests from Planned Parenthood supporters who held vigils outside the Republican governor’s executive mansion.
McCrory signed a total of 18 bills Monday, including Senate Bill 353, which tightens standards on abortion clinics in the state. McCrory threatened to veto a more restrictive version of the bill earlier this month, which had been abruptly appended to a larger bill on Sharia law. North Carolina Republicans responded by tweaking the law and appending the new version to a bill on motorcycle safety.
“I am pleased that this new legislation is focused on the health and safety of women in North Carolina,” said McCrory in a statement. “These higher standards will result in safer conditions for North Carolina women. This law does not further limit access and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens.”
The new version of the bill, which is now law, requires clinics that provide abortion services meet similar standards to those of surgical centers. Critics fear that these restrictions will ultimately close a number of abortion facilities in the state.
As a candidate for governor, McCrory had vowed not to sign any new restriction on the state’s abortion laws.