North Carolina lawmakers react to 20-week abortion ban

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 8:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Abortions in North Carolina are no longer legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated the ban on Wednesday after he said the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade erased the legal foundation for his 2019 ruling. The ruling placed an injunction on a North Carolina 1973 law that banned the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

State House Rep. Kandie Smith (D) believes the ban is a direct violation of women’s rights.

“What yesterday’s ruling shows us is that the threat to abortion in North Carolina is real,” Smith said. “The Republicans of the General Assembly are on a mission. They’re truly on a mission to repeal abortion outright. It’s only the beginning if they get their way.”

Meanwhile, state Sen. Jim Perry (R) says the matter shouldn’t be a political issue, because a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy had been a law in North Carolina for more than 50 years.

“According to data provided by the North Carolina Health and Human Services, 99.8% of abortions in North Carolina took place before the 20th week,” Perry said. “So, I don’t see an impact other than the political hyperbole that’s floating around right now because I understand politics, but I don’t see much change.”

That statistic does not account for 4.6 percent of abortions performed at unknown stages of the pregnancy.

Unable to pass abortion restrictions that would survive a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper, the Republican-led General Assembly urged Osteen to restore the ban in a July 27th friend-of-the-court brief.

In a statement, Gov. Roy Cooper said although he disagreed with the ruling, the vast majority of patients will still be able to access reproductive health care in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, patients seeking an abortion are required to seek counseling and then wait 72 hours before the procedure is approved.

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