ASHEVILLE – Abortion-rights activists held vigil outside the governor's mansion in Raleigh amid statewide concern last year as North Carolina ordered an overhaul of safety regulations for abortion providers. Those protests have subsided, and what's left of demonstrators on the issue in Asheville includes three to four people who meet weekly to hold signs opposing abortion outside a planned new clinic.
It's not that passions on the issue have been set aside, but disagreement on proposed new regulations has calmed in North Carolina. In a rare movement of accord, the state's largest abortion providers and abortion-rights advocates sided with state officials earlier this week, tentatively agreeing on proposed rule changes for abortion providers.
The changes up for public review come in response to a 2013 legislative directive mandating that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services create new requirements for abortion providers. They include the right to annually inspect any licensed clinic and standards for building codes, record-keeping, nurse staffing qualifications, emergency procedures and post-operative care.
Rules for certification of abortion clinics have not been updated in nearly 20 years, DHHS noted in a Nov. 14 fiscal impact analysis of the proposed regulations.
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