Abortion legislation pending for N.C. lawmakers

RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - Republican lawmakers are leaving to the end of their annual session a decision on whether to adopt new North Carolina abortion rules that supporters say would make the procedure safer for women.

Opponents say they're aimed at restricting the ability of women to decide.

The Legislature was expected to decide Thursday whether to give the state Department of Health and Human Services the authority to come up with rules to regulate abortion clinics. Another proposal would require clinics to have the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers, forcing them into costly changes or risk being shut down.

The debate over the new rules has led to weeks of protests and arrests. Groups supporting abortion rights are trying to pressure GOP Gov. Pat McCrory to veto the proposal if it passes.

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