North Carolina lawmakers pass 12-week abortion ban
The North Carolina state Senate on Thursday passed a 12-week abortion ban that is almost certain to become law in the state.
Why it matters: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) plans to veto the bill, but Republicans, who hold a veto-proof supermajority in the legislature, have said they plan to override him.
- The bill could become one of the most moderate abortion bans enacted nationwide since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
- North Carolina GOP lawmakers gained the supermajority when a state House Democrat switched parties last month.
The big picture: In the first six months after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, North Carolina was among the states that saw the largest increases in the number of abortions provided.
- The state had become a destination for people seeking the procedure, particularly as strict abortion bans took effect in most southern states.
Details: North Carolina's legislation prohibits abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy, with some exceptions.
- In cases of rape and incest, the bill allows abortions up to 20 weeks, and 24 weeks in the case of "life-limiting" anomalies for the fetus. There is no restriction when the pregnant person's life is in danger.
- A health provider who violates the law could potentially lose their medical license and face lawsuits.
- Under the bill, health providers would be required to consult with abortion patients only in person, ahead of the 72-hour waiting period that is already required in the state. Consultations could previously be done via a phone call or virtual meeting.
- The bill also includes millions in funding to reduce infant and maternal mortality and morbidity.
Worth noting: Other requirements in the bill that haven't received as much attention, like additional in-person visits to an abortion provider, will burden clinics and patients alike, providers say.
- Around 40% of the patients at A Preferred Women's Health Center, which has locations in Raleigh and Charlotte, come from out-of-state, executive director Calla Hales told Axios.
- Along with requiring an in-person visit 72 hours ahead of time, the measure urges doctors to follow up with the patient in person seven to 14 days after a medication abortion. People seeking the procedure in North Carolina could therefore be traveling for weeks, advocates note.
- "I didn't know you could put a Trojan horse inside of something so blatant, but here we are," Hales says.
Don't forget: Abortions are currently legal in North Carolina up until 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Shortly after the fall of Roe, a federal judge reinstated the state's 20-week ban, which had been blocked since 2019. Prior to that, abortions were legal in the state until viability, which is typically between 24 and 26 weeks.