North Carolina Aims to Restrict Abortions—as Part of Anti-Shari'ah Bill
Update (July 25): The North Carolina state legislature has approved a bill to ban courts from recognizing the jurisdiction of "foreign law," a term understood by many to refer to Islamic Shari'ah law. According to local news source WRAL, the bill "prohibits courts from recognizing 'foreign law' if it infringes on U.S. or state constitutional rights."
Now that it has been approved by both the House and the Senate, it only requires Governor Pat McCrory's signature before becoming law. McCrory, a Republican, had vowed to veto a previous version of the bill if a section regarding abortion restrictions—added at the last minute—were not removed.
RNS offers an explainer on what Shari'ah is and why some U.S. states want to ban it.
North Carolina is aiming to become the latest state to pass tougher restrictions on abortion procedures in an unexpected way.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had been discussing a bill that outlaws the use of foreign law, such as Islamic Shari'ah law, in family courts. According to local news station WRAL, "That measure was controversial when it cleared the House in May, with opponents fearing it could interfere with recognition of U.S. law in foreign courts."
But when the bill reached the Senate floor last week, legislators tacked on abortion restrictions—including conscience protections for health care providers, funding limits for health plans, a ban on sex-selective abortions, among others—and approved the bill 29-12.
Republican governor Pat McCrory, who said he agrees with the abortion provisions but "has criticized the way the bill was brought up in the state Senate last week—at the last minute and tacked on to another unrelated measure," threatened to veto the bill if it is not amended before it passes the House.
The House approved its own version of the abortion bill that attempts to assuage the McCrory administration's concerns. According to the News Observer:
The main changes were relaxing the proposed standards that abortion clinics would have to meet—sharing some regulations with ambulatory surgery centers but not making them identical—and allowing pregnant women to take abortion-inducing medicine at home after taking an initial dose at a clinic under a doctor's supervision.
That bill now heads to the Senate for approval.
CT previously has reported on other states' new legislative efforts to restrict access to abortion.