A Rush Transcript: Sen. Martin Nesbitt (D-NC49) on Women’s Health Care

A transcript of remarks delivered by North Carolina State Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, regarding the addition of an anti-abortion legislation package to an anti-Sharia bill, on July 2, 2013:

Members of the Senate, you’ve heard this in several statements tonight, but I feel like we’ve got to repeat it, and we’ve got to understand it easier: We’re treating this place as if it’s ours, to do with as we please. The fifty of us. Actually, I the thirty-three of you. And that all that matters is whether you prevail in here.

Those rules were put in place not so you could suspend them and beat us; you can beat us every day, all day—we don’t have enough votes. They were put on there because there’s a process out here where the public gets to see what we’re doing. You put a committee substitute online the night before so the public can get it. They can get it, we can get it; everybody has a chance to look at it.

Now we’re in here debating a bill that’s going to affect better than half our population, directly, and the rest of them indirectly. They haven’t had a chance to look at any of this. And I heard in the committee, and I’ve heard on this floor—well, I was told it’s my thinking. The bill was intended. This bill’s not had any scrutiny and we don’t know what it does. We’ve kind of got an idea. Y’all got an idea, and I got an idea. I’m going to give you a couple of my ideas here in a minute. But the most important thing is we got a state full of people out there that don’t even know we’re down here doing it.

And let me tell you what I think you’re doing to them. I think the provision having to do with ambulatory care centers is going to do away with health care as we know it for women who need help. And there are going to be more of them, not less of them. When you force these things into ambulatory surgical center, Planned Parenthood has four centers in the state—none of them comply. Out of business. Nobody told us that in committee. I scurried around and got that information myself.

That crowd that is going to descend on you when you get back down here is going to know it. It is a frontal attack on these facilities that offer women’s health care to women—things they need, mammograms, et cetera.

You are eliminating abortion coverage for people who may be anti-abortion but may need one later in life. Now the way I understand the way the exchanges were set up, no you can’t use government money for that procedure. But they were going to provide something for women to purchase separately, with their own money. You’re trying to cut that off, to where no woman will have abortion coverage.

What happens if her life is in danger? What happens if she’s a victim of rape and incest? What happens if it’s your daughter, or your granddaughter, and they need help? And your policy that you have doesn’t cover abortion. Alright, everybody in here can pay for it. That ain’t no problem. Well everybody out there can’t pay for it, and you have health insurance for a reason—and it’s to cover all these contingencies.

Not only are we saying that to people who might be in our health exchange, we’re saying to local governments and you can’t do it either.

Now, you all watch the news just like I do. I don’t how much you watched about Texas. We’re sitting in here tonight, and you’re going to win this debate and feel really good about yourselves, because you—all you big grown-up gray-haired men—have beat three women. I want to see what you do with about ten thousand of them, ’cause they’re coming. They’re coming. They’re not going to put up with you doing to this to them in the dark of the night, in the middle of a holiday week—

[Interjection: Mr. President, can you please tell me what time it is and is the sun still out?]

It’s eight o’clock at night, on Tuesday night. We’re back in session on a bill that wasn’t even on the calendar at six o’clock.

[Interjection: Mr. President, I want to object to third reading right now, so we can talk tomorrow, more, when the sun is out.]

I think that would be a wonderful idea when the time comes. And then by tomorrow some people in the public will know about this bill and be able to tell us what it does.

I don’t know how much more I can say. I can tell you this: You cannot keep doing this to the general public of this state. You got people already marching on this place, and that’s over how we’ve been behaving. And you start dragging up a committee meeting, no notice to the public, go down there and do a bill that disenfranchises women to this extent—and they’re not included in the debate, there’s nobody there from their side to even speak for them—and bring the bill up here; and I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I meant tell the truth on this stuff, because this is bad, bad business, and this is not our place to abuse. This place deserves more respect than to do this kind of thing to the people.


(Transcribed from video via MSNBC; h/t to Will Femia.)

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