(RALEIGH) -- New requirements for women seeking an abortion will soon be in place after Republican state lawmakers successfully defeated a veto issued by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.
The Senate voted 29-19 in favor of the legislation, which would force women to wait at least 24 hours before getting an abortion and view state-approved materials on abortion alternatives. The bill would also require physicians to perform an ultrasound no more than four hours prior to performing the abortion procedure. The House narrowly overturned Perdue’s veto earlier this week.
Senate Republicans were able to secure the necessary three-fifths majority needed for overrides when Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, decided not to vote. Bingham was the lone Republican opposing the measure when it passed the Senate last month. Another Republican, Sen. Richard Stevens, was also missing for the vote.
“I just refused to vote for the bill and so I walked,” said Bingham.
Bingham said he still felt strongly against the bill, which he argues violates the doctor-patient relationship. Likewise, he acknowledged that he was aware that his decision to “walk” meant the veto would be overturned.
Bingham also said it was the first time that he had been “strong-armed” by his fellow Republicans. However, GOP leaders denied Bingham’s claims.
“I don’t think he was strong-armed in any way that I saw,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow. “I think Senator Bingham made that decision.”
Democrats argued that the new requirements would result in a higher number of women having unsafe, “back-alley” abortions. Opponents also criticized Republicans for routinely railing against government interference in people’s lives while supporting the new requirements.
“What greater intrusion can you possibly craft that would go into someone’s life at this particular type of moment where they’re wrestling with a very difficult choice,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham.
Republicans countered that the bill would guarantee women get adequate information before having an abortion. Likewise, supporters rejected the notion that the waiting period places an unnecessary burden on women.
“For people to suggest that 24 hours is an onerous requirement, I’m sorry, I just can’t accept that,” said Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon.
Non-partisan legislative staff estimate that the bill will reduce the number of abortions in North Carolina by 10 percent.