Federal judge could block parts of NC’s extreme abortion ban; decision expected Friday

Federal judge could block parts of NC’s extreme abortion ban; decision expected Friday

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles indicated that she may put temporary holds on some parts of North Carolina’s abortion ban that is set to become law on Saturday, according to WRAL.

While this is welcome news, Eagles made it clear to attorneys for the state, NCGOP, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and a Duke OB-GYN, that she would not put a temporary restraining order on the entire law, which is what the plaintiffs had requested.

  • According to WRAL, Eagles handed a draft order to all the attorneys in the case, which she said highlighted how she could block parts of the law while allowing other parts to go into effect.
  • “It is my goal to get the case resolved as quickly and completely as possible,” Eagles said.
  • All sides in the lawsuit agree that parts of the law appear unconstitutional, according to WRAL. They disagree, though, on whether those possibly illegal provisions should be allowed to go into place anyway.

Lawyers for the NCGOP argue that a bill that was passed at the last minute on Tuesday night – with Republicans voting down the discussion of 12 Democratic amendments – addresses most of those concerns, therefore the law should be allowed to go into effect fully this weekend.

The problem with that argument is that the bill is not currently law and will not be signed into law (or vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper and then overridden by the General Assembly) by the current law’s July 1 start date. Assuming the bill even becomes law at all, it could be weeks or months from now when it does, which means that these unconstitutional provisions in the current law would be in effect that entire time.

Because of that, Planned Parenthood and North Carolina Department of Justice lawyers have asked Eagles to block parts of the law. According to them, the law as currently written violates “multiple constitutional rights that people have” and could lead to patients being arrested or doctors having their medical licenses taken away “over issues that are impossible to avoid or that the legislature didn’t actually intend to punish,” WRAL reported.

Eagles asked the lawyers to provide her with feedback by Thursday so that she can rule on Friday.

Patrick Zarcone

Stay Informed