The North Carolina Senate is not only considering an anti-Sharia (or Islamic law) bill passed in the state's House earlier this year, they've tricked it out with a whole new issue. House Bill 695, which began as a cookie-cutter ban on the use of foreign law in family law and custody cases, now would implement several restrictions on abortion services in the state.
The abortion provisions were tacked on to the bill late on Tuesday, which was then re-named the more omnibus-friendly "Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act of 2013." Those provisions are familiar to trackers of conservative legislation concerning abortion. They include measures already making their way through the state's legislative process.
The newly dual-issue bill would restrict health care coverage for abortions on plans offered through an Exchange, ban sex-selective abortions, require physicians to be present during a chemical (pill) abortion, and require clinics performing abortions to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center. Currently, according to the News-Observer, just one clinic in the state meets that requirement. North Carolina passed an earlier set of anti-abortion laws in 2011.
Originally, the bill was a pretty standard piece the newest iteration of anti-Sharia legislation: without naming Sharia, or Islamic law by name (a 2010 ballot measure doing so was eventually ruled unconstitutional in Oklahoma), the bill used a template drafted by anti-Sharia activist David Yerushalmi to restrict the use of "foreign law" in North Carolina courts. Anti Sharia activists believe that Islamic law poses a threat to the U.S. constitution and to American citizens (presumably, the non-Muslim ones), and have pushed for state laws banning it. Opponents to the bills note that the measures are directed specifically at restricting Muslims in spirit if not in letter, could interfere with due process, and might have implications for the state's international business relationships due to the vague wording of the measures. In any case, the less-specific bills are having a much easier time getting through state legislatures. Oklahoma, even after the overturned ballot measure, now has such a law on the books.
The Senate's final vote on the bill is Wednesday. You can read the whole thing below:
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