At about 7:30pm, Buzzfeed had a readable copy of the bill on its website. By 9pm, WRAL’s Laura Leslie had a piece putting the story into national perspective. She detailed how the North Carolina abortion measures follow similar ones in Texas and Ohio, explained the instances where the bills differed, and also why lawmakers are attempting to restrict access at the state level nationwide. Per Leslie:

Because of the Roe v. Wade case and subsequent decisions, states can’t ban abortion outright. But they can make it more difficult to get, and the current trend is to accomplish that by targeting clinics and doctors through what some call “TRAP” laws—Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.

WRAL is the state’s leading station for political coverage, and it shows. Its @NCCapitol section does a morning rundown of the day’s legislative agenda, all day rolling coverage, and an evening wrap.

Here was Binker and Leslie in their wrap last night describing the state of play:

Contrast that to Capitol Tonight at News 14 Carolina’s coverage last night of the breaking news: two short stories and one Tweet.

On the newspaper side, the Raleigh News & Observer had a piece late last night, but readers not familiar with the story might have been forgiven if they thought the vote was routine; the first quote in the story came from a supporter of the legislation about why it might be needed, and the story didn’t mention until the eighth paragraph how “the bill popped up as a surprise.” The Charlotte Observer, meanwhile, ran with the N&O’s story on its website.

Posting online at around 11 pm, the Asheville Citizen-Times published an Associated Press report. The AP was the only outlet I noticed that described the Republicans pushing the bill as “social conservatives. The AP’s was also the only print piece I saw—though WRAL’s Binker and Leslie mentioned it late into their evening wrap session—that brought into the mix some needed context about Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. (UPDATE: The N&O had this context in their story last night as well.) The Republican governor, the AP, wrote, had “said during last fall’s campaign he wasn’t interested in signing additional abortion restrictions into law.” More:

During a televised debate last October, McCrory was asked which additional abortion restrictions he would agree to sign into law. McCrory responded simply, “None.”

Things are changing fast on North Carolina’s political landscape and, as The Atlantic pointed out this week, “With a Republican takeover of state government and weekly protests in Raleigh, the Tar Heel State is the front line in America’s partisan battle.” In April, I wrote about the challenges the press faces covering it all.

This morning, the North Carolina Senate continues debate on the Sharia law/abortion bill. (For more context on legislative efforts to ban Sharia Law and the coverage of same, see this recent piece by Deron Lee). WRAL and others are livestreaming debate. You can bet more people—reporters included—will be watching today.

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Corey Hutchins is CJR's correspondent for Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. A former alt-weekly staffer, he has twice been named journalist of the year in the weekly division by the S.C. Press Association. Hutchins recently worked on the State Integrity Investigation at the Center for Public Integrity, and he has contributed to Slate, The Nation, and Medium, among others. Follow him on Twitter @coreyhutchins or email him at