Gov. Roy Cooper keeps his veto power; abortion remains safe – but not secure – in North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper keeps his veto power; abortion remains safe – but not secure – in North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto power remains intact, but just barely, after Republicans failed to get a supermajority in the state House.

To win a supermajority in the General Assembly, Republicans needed to flip three seats in the state House, which they failed to do by one seat, and two seats in the state Senate, which they did.

If Republicans had gained a supermajority in the state legislature, they would have been able to override any of Cooper’s vetoes, likely meaning that abortion would end up being banned or severely restricted in North Carolina.

Republican leaders have already indicated their desire to pass new abortion laws in 2023. Senate Leader Phil Berger has said that he prefers abortion restrictions after the first trimester. House Speaker Tim Moore said he supports legislation that would ban abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which would be around six weeks post-fertilization and before many people know they are pregnant. 

Republicans in the General Assembly will not be able to pass new abortion restrictions without Democratic support since they failed to obtain a veto-proof majority.

Since Cooper took office, his vetoes have halted harmful anti-abortion restrictions and laws criminalizing North Carolinians who exercise their constitutional right to peaceably assemble, among others.

According to the Associated Press, “In the past four years without Republican veto-proof majorities, none of Cooper’s 47 vetoes have been overridden. They included vetoes on legislation designed to loosen gun laws and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and make limited abortion change.”

Cooper has repeatedly expressed his commitment to vetoing anti-abortion legislation and has a proven track record of working with his fellow Democrats to ensure his vetos are not overridden.

Democrats must remain united for the rest of Cooper’s term to stave off extremely harmful legislation that Republicans will surely pass and that the governor will surely veto.

Patrick Zarcone

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