North Carolina Governor Vetoes Abortion Ban but Faces Override
Why It Matters: North Carolina has been a destination for women seeking abortions.
Abortion is currently legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks. A 12-week ban would dramatically cut abortion access.
The ban would stand to have an impact well outside of the state. North Carolina has become a haven for women across the South who are seeking abortions and whose home states have banned the procedure. North Carolina had one of the biggest upticks in out-of-state abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to abortion last year.
The bill is a consequential test of power of the Republican legislature’s new supermajority, achieved when a Democratic House member, Tricia Cotham, joined the Republican Party last month. A few weeks later, she voted in favor of the abortion ban in an apparent change of heart on the issue.
Background: Republicans pitch the bill as a compromise, but abortion rights supporters see it as a threat.
The 12-week ban is not as restrictive as other bans enacted in conservative states since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Many states have banned most abortions at any stage of pregnancy or after six weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant.
The North Carolina ban that Mr. Cooper vetoed allows a larger window, and broader exceptions. Most abortions take place within the first trimester, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Republicans in North Carolina have pitched the 12-week ban as a compromise.
Senator Phil Berger, a Republican, said Saturday that the bill was “a mainstream approach to limiting elective abortions.”
But those who support abortion rights say the bill would be disastrous for women’s health because of other barriers it creates, like longer waiting periods, more in-person doctor visits and restrictions on who can provide abortions.
What’s Next: An override vote is expected soon.
Republicans in the House and Senate are expected to hold votes to override the governor’s veto in the coming days.
Mr. Berger, the Republican Senator, said Saturday that Senate Republicans look forward to “swiftly overriding Governor Cooper’s veto.”
That override would most likely require the vote of every elected Republican, which is not assured.
Governor Cooper has spent days campaigning around the state asking residents to pressure several Republican lawmakers who are viewed as movable on the issue to vote against the override.
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