Hagan slams 'sneak attack' abortion bill

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) denounced what she said was a “sneak attack” proposal advancing through the state legislature that would sharply restrict abortions in her home state.

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The North Carolina Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a fast-moving measure that would force abortion clinics to follow the same rules as ambulatory centers, ban certain abortions and would require a physician to be present throughout an entire abortion procedure, among other provisions.

“If this is a healthcare bill about women, I am glad any state legislator in Raleigh is not my doctor,” Hagan, who is up for re-election in 2014, said Wednesday on MSNBC. “When I look at what the leadership and the General Assembly is doing, under a sneak attack they put forward -- they forced a sweeping anti-women's healthcare bill that -- with no public notice, no transparency, and that doesn't pass a public scrutiny test in North Carolina. Those are not the values that we hold.”

The Senate cleared the proposal on a 29-12 vote over the opposition over more than 500 protesters, according to published reports. Critics decried the legislative process as rushed after Republican senators added the abortion provisions to an unrelated bill. The uproar has drawn comparisons to the hotly contested abortion restrictions that Republicans in Texas are trying to enact over Democratic opposition.

“I think, just like the distractions that are taking place in Ohio and Texas and now in North Carolina, I don't think people have learned about what took place in the 2012 election,” Hagan said. “Women want to make their own decisions. Women listened, and when women's access to preventive healthcare and treatment is being brought in a sneak attack like what occurred last night in Raleigh they pay attention.”

She added: “When I think about a bunch of men sitting in Raleigh debating how wide a hallway should be in a women's healthcare clinic, I think that is totally absurd.”

The bill could put the state’s first-term governor, Pat McCrory (R), in a difficult spot after he vowed during his 2012 campaign that he would not sign any new abortion restrictions.

McCrory has criticized the process used to push the abortion restrictions in North Carolina, but the bill could become law without is signature. The North Carolina House could act on the measure as early as next week.