12-week abortion ban passes NC Legislature; Republicans who campaigned as abortion ‘moderates’ voted for ban
It’s official – both chambers of the North Carolina legislature have voted to approve an extreme, 12-week ban on abortions in our state less than two days after the bill was introduced.
Republican leaders introduced Senate Bill 20 after-hours on Tuesday night, after the deadline for introducing bills and after promises from so-called “moderate” Republicans to uphold the current 20-week ban.
When compared to more restrictive states, 12 weeks may sound “reasonable,” which was the point for Republicans here. As is often the case, you shouldn’t believe what Republicans say. This legislation is far more extreme than a simple 12-week ban.
Here is a look at some of the self-proclaimed abortion moderates and how they voted (or didn’t):
- Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) claimed last year that he had a “moderate stance” on the issue of abortion. He voted for the 12-week ban.
- Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) said last year that he supported allowing abortions up to 20 weeks. He didn’t show up to vote on Wednesday night.
- Rep. John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg) said he had “no intentions…of going back to Raleigh and trying to make the [law] more restrictive.” He voted for the 12-week ban.
- Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg) campaigned as a pro-choice Democrat last year and co-sponsored a bill earlier this year to codify Roe v. Wade as the law in North Carolina. She switched to the Republican Party last month and voted for the 12-week ban Wednesday night.
Gov. Roy Cooper specifically called out Lee, Davis, Bradford and Cotham in a video message following the Senate’s passage of SB 20 on Thursday. Cooper vowed to veto the bill and called for North Carolinians to pressure these legislators to not go back on their word and vote to override his veto.
North Carolinians are opposed to further abortion restrictions. A Meredith College poll from earlier this year shows 57% of North Carolinians want to keep or expand the 20-week limit on abortion.
On the surface, SB 20 looks like it’s a 12-week abortion ban, but if you dig a little deeper, it becomes very clear that this is far more restrictive. This ban imposes significant, and in many cases, insurmountable roadblocks for people trying to get an abortion early in their pregnancy.
Senate Bill 20 includes restrictions and requirements aimed at shutting down abortion clinics, makes it harder for a person to get an abortion even before 12 weeks and resurrects previously removed restrictions.
The new restrictions and requirements will effectively ban reproductive freedom before 12 weeks – and sometimes altogether – for pregnant North Carolinians.
It’s also important to remember just who came up with this legislation and who are the ones that always push abortion restrictions – it’s overwhelmingly white men. The NCGOP limited public comment and debate, then rammed through the legislation. It shouldn’t be ignored that the people who pushed through this bill will almost assuredly be spared from its consequences.
Republicans often talk about government transparency as if it’s something they value, but they repeatedly show that they don’t. What they did this week was not transparent. It was also shameful and undemocratic.