NC GOP Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto to Ban Abortion After 12 Weeks

The Republican-led North Carolina legislature voted to override the governor’s veto Tuesday to establish a 12-week abortion ban in the Tar Heel State.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper blocked the bill over the weekend and tried to persuade several Republicans to support his move.

In a party-line vote, both chambers overrode the veto with a 72-48 House vote following a 30-20 vote in the Senate. Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers due, in part, to Mecklenburg County Rep. Tricia Cotham’s party switch to the GOP last month. 

Cotham has supported abortion access in the past. She said in a statement late Tuesday that the bill “strikes a reasonable balance” that anyone not holding “extremist positions” on abortion can support.

The successful override was the second time a veto by Cooper had been overturned in almost five years, according to The News & Observer

Republicans pitched the measure as a middle-ground change to state law, which currently bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, without exceptions for rape or incest.

The new abortion limits set to take effect July 1 also will include rape or incest exceptions through 20 weeks of pregnancy and exceptions for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies during the first 24 weeks. An existing exception for when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger will remain.

“Today marks the beginning of North Carolina’s first real step towards becoming a pro-life state,” Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the socially conservative North Carolina Values Coalition, said after the House vote.

Democrats focused on details of the abortion rules, which they said would place barriers between women and their doctors, leaving those who are pregnant in danger, with less access to abortion services.

“Women did not ask for your oversight. We didn’t ask for your approval,” state Rep. Julie von Haefen, a Wake County Democrat, told her Republican colleagues. “It’s our fundamental right to make decisions about our own bodies and our own health care.”

Cooper said in a statement after the vote that he’ll “continue doing everything I can to protect abortion access in North Carolina because women’s lives depend on it.”

The Biden administration also weighed in with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying in a statement the law “will make it even more difficult for women to get the reproductive health care they need.”

The votes came as access to abortion in the U.S. faced another tectonic shift with lawmakers in South Carolina and Nebraska also considering new abortion limits. North Carolina and South Carolina have been two of the few remaining Southern states with relatively easy access.

As CBN News reported, such restrictions are possible because the U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a nationwide right to abortion.

Nationally, bans on abortion throughout pregnancy are in effect in 14 states.

Abortion is banned or severely restricted in much of the South, including bans throughout pregnancy in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. In Georgia, it’s allowed only in the first six weeks.

Florida has a ban that kicks in 15 weeks into pregnancy. Under a recent law, that would tighten to six weeks–pending a court ruling. 

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