North Carolina Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Most Abortions

North Carolina Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Most Abortions

On Saturday, North Carolina’s Democratic governor vetoed a bill that sought to outlaw most abortions in his state after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The veto was announced before a crowd of about 1,000 abortion-rights activists and voters gathered at a plaza in Raleigh, the state capital.

The Bill

The bill, which was passed last week in the House and Senate, was a Republican response to last year’s US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. It tightens the current state law, which bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the bill adds exceptions to the 12-week ban, extending the limit through 20 weeks for rape and incest and through 24 weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies.

The Governor’s Response

Governor Roy Cooper, a strong abortion-rights supporter, had until Sunday night to act on the measure. Cooper spent the week travelling around North Carolina, talking to the public about the bill’s lesser-known impacts and urging them to put pressure on key Republican lawmakers who were hesitant about further restrictions during their campaigns for office last year. Cooper has repeatedly said that the details contained in the bill show that the measure isn’t a reasonable compromise and would instead greatly erode reproductive rights.

Republicans’ Response

Republicans have pitched the measure as a middle-ground change to state abortion laws developed after months of private negotiations between House and Senate GOP members. Senate leader Phil Berger accused Cooper of “feeding the public lies” and “bullying” members of his party to block the legislation. Republicans have promised to override Cooper’s veto, after gaining veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Compared to recent actions by Republican-controlled legislatures elsewhere, the broad prohibition after 12 weeks can be viewed as less onerous to those in other states where the procedure has been banned almost completely. But abortion-rights activists have argued that it’s more restrictive than meets the eye and will have far-reaching consequences. Since Roe was overturned, many patients travelling from more restrictive states have become dependent on North Carolina as a locale for abortions later in pregnancy.


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