North Carolina Republicans Push For 12-Week Abortion Ban Amidst Controversy

North Carolina Republicans push for stricter abortion laws with a proposed 12-week ban and exceptions.

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North Carolina Republicans push for stricter abortion laws with a proposed 12-week ban and exceptions.

North Carolina Republican leaders announced on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement to back a measure that would restrict abortions in nearly all cases after the first trimester of pregnancy. Currently, state law prohibits nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but the proposed legislation would reduce that to 12 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. The bill is expected to be voted on and passed by the Republican-dominated legislature on Wednesday and Thursday in the House and Senate, respectively.

The proposed bill also includes provisions to make adoptions easier and to improve healthcare access for children and pregnant women. The Republicans promoting the bill view it as a pro-women and holistic approach, focusing on the health and safety of the child. The measure, they say, will save lives and improve health outcomes for pregnant women.

However, the bill faces opposition from those who argue that it is an egregious, unacceptable attack on women’s rights. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic spokesperson, Jillian Riley warned that the restrictions would have detrimental effects on the health of North Carolina residents and others from the Southeast. She expressed concern that the people of North Carolina would not want any more bans on abortion care and that they would remember who voted to strip away legal abortion in the state.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who strongly supports abortion rights, is expected to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. However, with Republicans now holding veto-proof majorities in both General Assembly chambers, an override would only require a few House Democrats to vote for it or be absent.

House and Senate Republicans have been working towards a consensus for months to further act upon last year’s US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. At least 88% of the abortions involving North Carolina residents in 2020 occurred at or before 12 weeks of gestation, according to state Department of Health and Human Services data.

While the bill will place limits on exceptions, capping abortions at 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest and 24 weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies, it may not satisfy those who support abortion rights. Some critics have complained that the agreement was worked out privately among Republicans over several months without formal public input.

Despite criticism, Republican leadership billed the measure as a $160 million investment in childcare access, maternal health care, and paid parental leave for teachers and state employees. The funding would also go to nonprofit community health centers to provide contraceptives to underserved, uninsured, or medically indigent patients.

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