Remember how, when Pat McCrory ran for governor of North Carolina last year, he promised not to pass any new abortion-related restrictions? Don’t worry, neither does he. And barely two days after McCrory signed an anti-choice bill into law, the FemCare clinic–also known as the only abortion provider in Western North Carolina–has had its licensed suspended.
Officials with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services say that the suspension is unrelated to the new law, and cited 23 violations. However, a statement released on behalf of the clinic alluded to the fact that those new regulations may have been a factor in the suspension:
“Since the state’s last site visit in August 2006 there have been no changes in our operating protocols, but increasing regulations require us to make changes …. Standards that were acceptable when we were last inspected have changed and, as soon as we were notified of them two weeks ago, we began the process of meeting each one of them. … We have had no patient infections using our former protocols. We expect to be in compliance soon with the required standards and will return to serving our patients as soon as possible.”
This latest anti-choice law has been controversial virtually from the beginning. Earlier this summer, the bill’s supporters attempted to include it in a measure that would bar sharia law; when that attempt failed, the bill was included in a law regarding motorcycle safety. This addition seemed to be the very definition of “last-minute,” with not even state politicians–to say nothing of the public–aware of the change.
The new law requires clinics meet the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers; allows health care providers to refuse to provide an abortion; and stops government insurance plans from covering abortion care. It is estimated that most of the state’s 16 clinics would be at risk of closing, due to the expense of meeting the new surgery center standards.
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out saraherdreich.com.