RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Republican lawmakers are approving 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 Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to granting the state Department of Health and Human Services the authority to come up with rules to regulate abortion clinics with the same standards as outpatient surgery centers. The health agency is cautioned against "unduly restricting access."
Abortion-rights groups say that could force 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 measure.