NC Senate Passes Faith, Family, Freedom Protection Act 29-12
Measure contains major pro-family, pro-life legislation
By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
July 3, 2013
RALEIGH — Christmas in July? That’s what the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, called the Faith, Family & Freedom Protection Act passed by the Senate, 29 to 12, on the eve of Independence Day.
Initially a measure to prevent foreign law, such as Sharia law, from being applied in North Carolina, the bill was amended Tuesday to include conscience protection for health care workers, limits on abortion funding, prohibitions for sex-selective abortion, and a provision that would require doctors to be present during an entire abortion procedure or when abortifacients are administered.
While Democrats described the bill as an attack on women’s rights slipped onto the calendar without an opportunity for public input, Republicans said their goal was making the procedure safer for women, especially in light of the recent hearings in Pennsylvania revealed about the abortion industry. They also pointed out that the legislation was a conglomeration of four bills filed early in the session, at least three of which have been approved by the House. In addition to discussion in the Judiciary Committee, H 695 was debated on the Senate floor Tuesday night and for another two hours on Wednesday morning.
Senators Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) and Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth) tried to derail the bill with amendments that would require doctors to be present whenever a man takes Viagra, claiming that drugs for erectile dysfunction were more dangerous than abortions. Both amendments were tabled without a vote.
“I’ve been listening to this debate for two days and to liken Viagra to giving a woman medication that causes her to lose her unborn child is unconscionable,” said Sen. Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston). “Abortion has been referred to as ‘healthcare?’ This is a procedure where an unborn child loses his life and it should be taken very seriously.”
Senators Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) and Shirley Randleman (R-Stokes) also challenged Democrats’ assessment of the bill as an attack on women or as Sen. Angela Bryant (D-Halifax) put it, an attempt to “enslave our uteruses.”
“I see nothing in this bill that limits my right as a woman to make a choice,” said Wade. “The only thing I see is that it would limit anyone else from having to be required to pay for an abortion that wasn’t due to incest, rape or endangering the life of the mother.”
She said anyone who wanted to pay for abortions for other reasons could contribute to a non-profit organization set up for just that cause, but that taxpayers should not be forced to help fund elective abortions.
While Senators Kinnaird and Bryant argued that the state had enjoyed four decades of safe abortions, Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Franklin) read a Charlotte Observer article detailing multiple problems at a Queen City abortion clinic that led to it being shut down twice in six years. He also cited problems at a Fayetteville facility.
Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke) pointed out that the portion of the bill that would require clinics to operate under standards similar to those of ambulatory surgical centers was consistent with recommendations resulting from the Gosnell abortion clinic case in Pennsylvania.
“We’re not here today taking away the rights of women. What we’re taking away is the rights of an industry to have substandard conditions,” Daniel said.
Opponents of the bill said abortion clinics are already highly regulated and that the bill would effectively shut down all but one clinic in the state and lead to “back alley abortions.”
Wrapping up debate, Sen. Phil Berger (R-Guilford) said the bill was not an attempt to overturn Roe V. Wade, but simply included a number of “common sense processes to protect women and to protect public health” and that anyone interested in safe abortions had nothing to fear from the bill.
“We can stick our heads in the sand and act like problems don’t exist. We can pretend that everything is just hunky-dory out there, but it is not,” he said. “We are being warned by the results of the Charlotte clinic and by the results in Fayetteville that there are problems out there. …We have an obligation to protect the health of the women that go to these clinics and make sure the rules and safety procedures are the best they can be.”
The bill now heads to the House for concurrence, amid promises of continued intense protests from abortion promoters such as Planned Parenthood.
“We called it Christmas in July, but the gift won’t be completely wrapped until it’s passed by the House and signed by the Governor,” said Dr. Creech. “We urge Christians to let their representatives know that they support these measures that are bound to save lives. They will certainly hear from abortion supporters, so we cannot afford to be silent.”
Pre-Term Birth Bill
In other legislative news, the Senate concurred with the House version of the Health Curriculum/Preterm Birth bill (S-132), a bill that will add information about abortion and other avoidable causes of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies to the state’s sex-ed curriculum. The bill passed Tuesday, 32 to 12.
Human Trafficking Bill
Details of another bill that the Christian Action League has been following, Senate Bill 683 “Safe Harbor/Victims of Human Trafficking” are now being worked out in a Conference Committee. An amended version of the measure was passed by the House and came back to the Senate this week, where the body voted 40 to 4 not to concur.