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UPDATE: NC House votes to bar abortions based on race, Down syndrome

South Carolina lawmakers are revisiting the topic of abortion rights after a version of the...
South Carolina lawmakers are revisiting the topic of abortion rights after a version of the Fetal Heartbeat bill passed in the House earlier this year, and after several other states passed similar bills.(WIS)
Published: May. 6, 2021 at 7:53 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House has approved legislation barring abortion providers from performing the procedure if a woman’s decision centered on the unborn child’s race or a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Thursday’s vote came after nearly an hour of impassioned debate.

Abortion rights groups and their allies on the House floor agreed the measure is another method to meddle in the deeply personal decisions of a woman. Six Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for the measure, which now goes to the Senate.

The bill is likely to receive the veto stamp of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper if it should reach his desk.

The constitutionality of North Carolina’s ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is being weighed by a federal appeals court.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled remote arguments on Thursday by attorneys for abortion providers who sued to overturn the ban and for the local prosecutors and state officials who are defendants.

A federal trial judge declared in 2019 the law was unconstitutional because the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb.

Issues of legal standing and the ban’s lack of enforcement by prosecutors have entered court briefs.

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