North Carolina is headed for a showdown over a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy with Democrat Governor Roy Cooper vetoing legislation passed by the GOP-led legislature.
“This bill will create dangerous interference with the doctor-patient relationship, leading to harm for pregnant women and their families,” Cooper said in his veto message on Saturday.
“With its medically unnecessary obstacles and restrictions, it will make abortion unavailable to many women, particularly those with lower incomes, those who live in rural areas, and those who already have limited access to health care,” he added.
While North Carolina already has a 20-week abortion ban in place, the bill passed by GOP lawmakers would cut that number down to 12 weeks.
It includes provisions for a 20-week ban in cases of rape or incest and a 24-week cap when there are life-altering fetal anomalies. The legislation does not place any limit when it comes to protecting the life of the mother. Also part of the bill is a requirement for in-person doctor visits for ending a pregnancy with a pill at 10 weeks, according to The News & Observer.
The veto by Cooper serves as a rebuke to GOP-led efforts in states across the country to establish significant restrictions on abortion access after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer. Republican leaders in the state legislature are already vowing to seek a veto override.
“Gov. Cooper has spent the last week actively feeding the public lies about Senate Bill 20 and bullying members of the General Assembly,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “He has been doing everything he can, including wasting taxpayer money on poorly attended events, to avoid talking about his own extreme views on abortion. I look forward to promptly overriding his veto.”
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) accused Cooper of “spreading misinformation about SB 20 in an effort to frighten voters and appease campaign donors.” Moore also said the bill “will save unborn lives, protect women, and support families” and vowed the governor’s veto will “be swiftly overridden.”
But, at a rally in the capital of Raleigh with supporters on Saturday, Cooper bet that Republican leaders will fail to muster the support needed to override his veto, as their supermajority in each chamber is slim.
“We’re going to have to kick it into an even higher gear when that veto stamp comes down,” the governor said, according to the Associated Press. “If just one Republican in either the House or the Senate keeps a campaign promise to protect women’s reproductive health, we can stop this ban.”