Bills regarding mask mandates, abortion travel expenses introduced by SC Congressman
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – In a move that has drawn both support and criticism, South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman has introduced two new bills to address what he calls bureaucratic overreach of un-elected officials.
Norman’s “No mask mandate for the military act” and the “No federal funds for abortion travel expenses act of 2023” were introduced on Wednesday and are currently being read by the house-armed services and the house-energy and commerce committees.
The “No mask mandate for the military act” prohibits the secretary of defense from imposing any federal mask mandate policies pertaining to COVID-19 on any military installations in the U.S.
“The military is down anyway, with the recruiting. So, our national defense is important, and you’ve got to have people to do that,” Norman said. “So as, hopefully, with the mask mandate, we’ll take another obstacle off the table.”
This comes after the Biden Administration announced they plan to end the COVID National Emergency on March 11.
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As far as the “No federal funds for abortion travel expenses act” goes: Norman introduced this bill in response to the department of defense saying they would pay for service members to travel to get abortions after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“If a mother wants to pay with her own money to travel to wherever, that’s her right. And she can do that; she can go to a state that allows abortions and have the procedure,” Norman said. “But otherwise, why should that be at taxpayer expense? I don’t think it should be.”
Norman says he isn’t concerned with service members traveling to get abortions — he just doesn’t want the travel expenses to fall on the taxpayer.
“The travel expenses — small — but it all adds up,” Norman said. “That’s what we’re battling.”
QCN contacted Calla Hales, the Executive Director at an abortion clinic in Charlotte.
She wasn’t available for an interview, but she did send QCN a statement in response to Norman’s bill:
“Norman’s bill is just another in a long line of legislation that aims to further restrict abortion access at the detriment of not only South Carolinians, but any person seeking care abortion care.”
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Eric Heberlig, a political science professor at UNCC, is unsure Norman’s bills will actually get written into law since republicans don’t have control of the Senate.
“There are some bills that are what we call messaging bills,” Heberlig said. “They’re bills that are there to send signals to the people who care about this issue that ‘I’m on your side,’ but they’re not necessarily intended to be passing.”
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