North Carolina’s reinstated 20-week abortion ban will have far-reaching impact on those in need of reproductive care
A federal judge earlier this month ruled that abortions in North Carolina were no longer legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy. United States District Judge William Osteen’s ruling eroded protections in one of the South’s last remaining safe havens for reproductive freedom.
According to the Associated Press, Osteen’s decision “defies the recommendations of all named parties in [a previous] 2019 case, including doctors, district attorneys and the attorney general’s office.”
Although most abortion procedures don’t occur after 20 weeks, those that do are often because of serious, potentially life-threatening health emergencies – and now that care is being criminalized.
- Both Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein have spoken out against restrictions on reproductive health care. Cooper called the ruling’s impact “fundamentally wrong” and called the ban itself a “harmful law.” Stein refused to defend the law and said that “Politicians in Raleigh should not be making” reproductive decisions for North Carolinians.
- The ban is already starting to affect both patients and doctors here. Duke Health physicians met last week to discuss the new restrictions. One physician said they are already seeing women who are “willing to sacrifice their desire for future children” and another doctor said “physicians are confused” by the law and the changing legal landscape around maternal health.
- The ban will also have a far-reaching impact across the South on those who are in need of reproductive care. According to the AP, “North Carolina has become a refuge for residents of its more restrictive neighboring states, like South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.” So far in August, 36% of abortion patients in NC are from outside our state, up from 14% in June.
According to a poll earlier this month, 55% of North Carolinians support access to abortion, and 28% of those who do say they would like to see fewer restrictions. In addition, a majority of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to Pew Research, 57% of American adults disapprove of the decision and 43% of them strongly disapprove.
Republicans in North Carolina and throughout the country are going against the will of the people and stripping away a fundamental right from millions. It’s now up to American voters to make Republicans pay at the ballot box for their extremism.