North Carolina overrides veto of 12-week abortion ban

·2-min read

North Carolina Republican politicians overrode a veto by the state's Democratic governor to enact a law that cuts the window for most abortions in the southern state from 20 to 12 weeks.

The law bans elective abortions after the first trimester, except in cases of rape, incest, life-limiting fetal anomalies and medical emergencies.

Republicans were able to override the veto because they hold a majority of exactly three-fifths in each chamber, 72-48 in the House and 30-20 in the Senate. Before Governor Roy Cooper vetoed it, the measure whizzed through the legislature in early May in fewer than 48 hours with party line votes.

The White House said the law would "harm patients and threaten doctors for providing essential care," and repeated its call for Congress to enshrine abortion access rights into law nationwide.

North Carolina Republicans celebrated the law's enactment on Tuesday evening after the Senate and then the House voted to override Cooper's veto.

State Senator Vickie Sawyer said in a Twitter post that it would restore "respect for the sanctity human life" and save "millions of unborn children."

Democratic state representative Deb Butler said the law would make North Carolina a "less hospitable" place to live.

"This regressive law will affect every single woman in this state for the entirety of her reproductive life," she said.

The measure requires doctors to be present when abortion medication is given and requires those seeking medical abortions to have an in-person consultation with a doctor 72 hours before the procedure. That will make it more difficult for women from out-of-state to obtain an abortion in North Carolina.

Republicans defended the bill as "common-sense legislation" that represented a compromise that stopped short of the more restrictive bans opposed by a majority of US voters. Democratic opponents called it "devastatingly cruel," and said it would force women into seeking illegal abortions.

The bill includes funding for foster and childcare as well as paid parental leave.

Near-total abortion bans have taken effect in 14 states since the US Supreme Court revoked federal abortion rights in June 2022, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.