ECU professor talks possible future for abortion laws in NC

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - With the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, what does that mean for us here in eastern Carolina?

This state does not have a so-called trigger law. Those are state laws that would go into effect now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Currently, abortion is legal in both North and South Carolina. There are restrictions to getting an abortion though.

In North Carolina, if you want an abortion, you have to have an ultrasound and consult with a medical professional 72 hours beforehand. If you’re under 18, you’d need permission from a parent or guardian. ECU Professor Brad Lockerbie suspects people will be able to find access to an abortion somewhere in the U.S., it just might mean some traveling.

“We know that people cross state boundaries because the laws differ across various states. Who of us has not gone I-95 and seen signs for fireworks right across the border? I don’t think abortion is equal to fireworks by any stretch of the imagination, but depending on state laws, I would not be surprised to see clinics set up near state borders,” Lockerbie explained.

A 1973 North Carolina law that banned abortions after 20 weeks was struck down in 2019. Instead, abortions can be performed until fetal viability. However, with the Supreme Court’s ruling, that original 20-week ban could be restored.

Lockerbie also explained that it’s unlikely any full ban will happen during Governor Roy Cooper’s time in office. “He has stated rather bluntly that he would stand up for the right to access abortion, that even if the legislature is under continued control of the Republicans, they’d have to have such a super majority to override that veto that he might issue, that I just don’t see that as happening any time soon,” he said.

Lockerbie added that the Supreme Court’s decision puts more power in the hands of state leaders. “If you were pro-life, you might say, well you know what, Cooper, I like him except for his abortion issue, but that doesn’t matter in North Carolina because the Supreme Court says nothing can be done about it. Well now, something could be done in the state of North Carolina. So regardless of if you’re pro-life or pro-choice, state politics becomes that much more important.”

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