RALEIGH, N.C., July 3 (UPI) -- The North Carolina Senate Wednesday approved new restrictions on abortion after adding them at the last minute to an unrelated bill on Sharia law.
Angry abortion-rights activists looked on from the gallery and chanted "Shame" in the hallway outside, The (Raleigh) News and Observer reported. One woman who yelled "shame on you" in the gallery was arrested.
"This is an atrocious, shameful bill," Sen. Earline Parmon, a Democrat, said. "It's about dictating to women about very personal medical decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor. This is going to cause more back-alley abortions whether you want to admit it or not."
Activists say the bill, if it becomes law, would force all or almost all clinics in North Carolina to close. Under the measure, abortion clinics would have to meet the same standards as outpatient surgery centers, and doctors would have to be present when women use medication intended to induce abortion.
Supporters say the abortion restrictions protect women's lives.
"We're not here today taking away the rights of women," Republican Sen. Warren Daniel said. "We're taking away the rights of an industry to have substandard conditions."
The abortion provisions were added Tuesday as amendments to a bill banning North Carolina family courts from using Sharia law, the legal code of Islam.