NC Republicans are at an impasse on abortion restrictions
The future of abortion is in limbo in North Carolina, where thousands of women have flocked since the fall of Roe v. Wade.
Why it matters: With a functioning supermajority in the legislature, Republicans have made restricting abortions beyond the state's current 20-week ban a top priority.
- Three months into this year's legislative session, however, Republicans have yet to introduce any abortion legislation, as they've been debating for months about how far to go.
- Now, however, Republicans are questioning whether they'll be able pass a bill this year at all.
What they're saying: "Allowing for abortion up to 20 weeks" is not acceptable, SBA Pro-Life America’s Southern regional director Caitlin Connors told Axios in a statement. "And doing nothing to change that existing law is not acceptable."
What we're watching: North Carolina's state House, where abortion restrictions will live or die. While Republicans in the Senate have the luxury of a supermajority, House Republicans need one Democrat to vote with them.
- Because of that, Republicans in both chambers are expected to wait to introduce any abortion legislation until they have that backing — something some lawmakers, strategists and insiders believe will only happen with a first-trimester ban, not a 6-week or heartbeat ban.
Meanwhile: Some anti-abortion groups are pushing Republicans to only back legislation that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — a proposal many believe doesn't have a shot at becoming law.
What's next: In recent days at least one of those anti-abortion groups has read the writing on the wall, sources tell Axios, and expressed openness to a 12-week ban, so long as the legislation includes other provisions that could help reduce abortions, like incentivizing adoption.
- "We want women to feel like they have options," Republican Sen. Paul Newton told Axios.
The bottom line: That shift could help the legislation get unstuck, but bill filing deadlines are rapidly approaching.
- As of now, as House Republicans are set to roll out a budget proposal next week, the legislature seems a long way off from introducing new abortion restrictions.
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