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Lawmaker: NC regulates animal shelters more than abortion clinics

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Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) said current abortion clinic regulations in the state "pale in detail and in breadth in comparison" to those of animal shelters. Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) said current abortion clinic regulations in the state "pale in detail and in breadth in comparison" to those of animal shelters.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A House Republican said Thursday that current abortion clinic regulations in the state "pale in detail and in breadth in comparison" to those of animal shelters.

The state House debated the latest version of legislation addressing abortion rules in North Carolina that also seek to satisfy concerns of Gov. Pat McCrory. On Wednesday, members of the House Judiciary Committee voted 10-5 along party lines to change the bill after McCrory threatened to veto the proposal.

The chamber set aside three hours Thursday to discuss Senate Bill 353, which would increase standards for abortion clinics and require doctors performing abortions to remain physically present during the surgery or as a patient takes a drug to induce abortion.

Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) said there is a "blatant disregard for standards" for abortion clinics in the state, citing "repeated lab deficiencies, failure to properly administer drugs, and improper Rh [Rhesus] testing and hCG testing."

In severe cases, Rhesus disease can lead to stillbirth. In other instances, Rhesus can result in learning difficulties for the child, deafness, anaemia, jaundice or blindness.

An hCG test measures human chorionic gonadotropin levels as a means of monitoring medical abortion outcomes.

"We do have a problem here -- it is recurring -- and we need to do something to fix that," Schaffer argued. "The current regulations on the inspections, as few and far between as they are, are simply not solving the problem for us."

Schaffer said regulations governing North Carolina abortion clinics "pale in detail and in breadth in comparison to what we require for our ambulatory surgical centers."

She added that regulations on animal shelters in the state are also more restrictive than those on abortion clinics.

"Interestingly enough, not that I'm saying we need to do it this way, they also pale in detail and in breadth to what we require of animal shelters and things promoting animal welfare," Schaffer said.

"I would submit to you [that] we need to be protecting and promoting the health and safety of women with at least the same amount of detail and care that we would regulate what's going on in our animal shelters."

Schaffer admitted the comparison of clinic regulations to those for ambulatory surgical centers and animal shelters "is a bit misplaced."

Following the debate, the bill passed the House 74-41. It now returns to the Senate, who must approve changes made in the House committee.

On July 5, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services shut down a Durham abortion clinic for failure to comply with the safety rules for women's health clinics.

The state suspended The Baker Clinic for Women's certificate of operation due to findings that showed "conditions at The Baker Clinic for Women present an imminent danger to the health, safety and welfare of the clients and that emergency action is required to protect the clients."

Officials with the Acute and Home Care Licensure and Certification Section of DHHS surveyed the Baker Clinic and found numerous violations.

The survey revealed that the facility failed to perform adequate quality control in blood banking. The Baker Clinic was found to have failed to perform quality control testing on 108 patients that received Rh(D) testing.

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