North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature has successfully overridden the governor’s recent veto, solidifying the passage of a law that prohibits most abortions after 12 weeks and further limits access to abortion care in the state.
The override vote took place on Tuesday night, with consecutive sessions held in the state House and Senate. This victory marks the strength of the new Republican supermajority legislature. While North Carolina already prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the newly enacted law tightens the restrictions by banning abortions after 12 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomalies, or if the life of the pregnant person is at risk.
The ban is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat and advocate for abortion rights, vetoed the legislation during a rally held in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hundreds of abortion rights activists and voters were present as Cooper made his stance known. In an effort to uphold his veto, Cooper spent the past week traveling around the state to garner Republican support.
The newly passed law, referred to as Senate Bill 20, significantly curtails abortion access for individuals across the South. Several states in the region have implemented bans or restrictions on abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned last year.
Nationally, 14 states have enforced bans on abortion throughout pregnancy.
Rise in Violence against Abortion Clinics: Report Reveals Disturbing Trend Incidents of violence against abortion clinics have escalated since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to a recent report.
Abortion Banned or Restricted in Much of the South States like Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia have enacted bans on abortion throughout pregnancy. In Georgia, abortion is prohibited after six weeks of pregnancy.
Furthermore, recent anti-abortion proposals in the Carolinas and Florida threaten to further erode abortion rights. Florida’s current law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but a recent bill aims to reduce the limit to six weeks. In South Carolina, a bill that could severely limit abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy is up for vote. Last month, both South Carolina and Nebraska failed to advance similar abortion bans.
The potential combination of these bans in the Carolinas, along with Florida’s recent actions, would have a devastating impact on abortion access in the South, warned Jamie Lockhart, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, in an interview with the Associated Press.
“There’s More Work to Be Done”: Abortion Clinics Seek to Rebuild Amidst Violent Attacks Abortion clinics are regrouping and rebuilding following a surge in violent attacks since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Protesters and Supporters Gather Ahead of the Vote Prior to the Senate vote, anti-abortion protesters and supporters of the North Carolina ban gathered and rallied in the Senate gallery.
During the debate, Senate lawmakers deliberated on the bill, with Republican leaders arguing that Governor Cooper disregarded proposed funding of at least $160 million for contraceptive services, childcare access, and maternal health care.
“North Carolinians witnessing this debate are witnessing exaggerated and extremist objections from some Democrats,” stated Republican Senator Vickie Sawyer of Iredell County. “Their anger stems from the fact that this bill is a mainstream and common-sense approach to a very difficult topic.”
Democrats, on the other hand, contended that the ban would create dangerous barriers between pregnant individuals and their doctors. Democratic Senator Natasha Marcus of Mecklenburg County expressed concerns that the 12-week cutoff would leave very little time for individuals to make a decision regarding abortion and could lead to unwanted pregnancies.