RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would make the state one of several with 72-hour waiting periods for an abortion, sending the measure to the governor's desk.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has not said whether he supports the bill. The House and Senate chambers in the GOP-controlled legislature topped the threshold for overcoming a veto, should the governor choose to do so.
Bill supporters have said that increasing the state's waiting period from the current 24 hours will give pregnant women more time to collect information about a difficult decision. The bill's House sponsors also said they hope the measure would lead to fewer abortions.
The bill requires women to talk to a doctor or other qualified professional 72 hours before having an abortion, unless there's a medical emergency.
Three other states have 72-hour waiting periods: Missouri, South Dakota and Utah. Oklahoma's waiting period of that length goes into effect in November.
The bill adds other rules for doctors and clinics that perform abortions and includes several unrelated criminal justice measures.
Democratic lawmakers and other opponents have said there is no medical reason for increasing the wait, and they've complained that Republicans are seeking to add more hurdles for women seeking a procedure that courts have ruled to be constitutionally protected.
Since Republicans took over North Carolina's legislature in 2011, the state has passed several laws aimed at limiting abortions, including the current 24-hour waiting period. Some credit the laws with contributing to the 26 percent decline in the number of abortions in North Carolina since 2010.