GOP-Led NC Legislature Overrides Abortion Law Veto

May 17, 2023 by Dan McCue
GOP-Led NC Legislature Overrides Abortion Law Veto
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s Republican-led Legislature voted Tuesday night to ban most abortions after 12 weeks, overriding Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s previous veto of the measure.

In a pair of party-line votes, the North Carolina General Assembly voted 72-48 to uphold the new, tighter restrictions on abortion, this after the state Senate voted 30-20 in support of the measure.

Republicans currently hold supermajorities in both chambers and the outcome of the votes satisfied a requirement in the state constitution that requires a three-fifths vote in each chamber to override a governor’s veto.

The new law is set to take effect on July 1, and when it does, it will be a significant change for women living in or who had contemplated traveling to North Carolina for an abortion. Currently state law allows the termination of a pregnancy up to 20 weeks.

The law, known as Senate Bill 20, restricts most abortions in North Carolina to 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, certain fetal abnormalities and the life of the mother. 

It also mandates that detailed information about abortion procedures be reported to state health regulators and institutes longer waiting periods and more in-person medical visits to obtain an abortion.

After the votes were tallied in the General Assembly Tuesday night, chants of shame rained down on the lawmakers from angry onlookers in the chamber’s gallery.

Immediately after the vote, however, an unapologetic Republican North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore issued a brief written statement that said, “I am proud that the House has overridden the governor’s veto of this meaningful, mainstream legislation.”

Cooper responded via Twitter, observing that “North Carolinians now understand that Republicans are unified in their assault on women’s reproductive freedom and we are energized to fight back on this and other critical issues.”

A recent poll conducted by Meredith College in Raleigh found that while over half of respondents wanted to either keep North Carolina’s current law about abortion access (20 weeks) or expand it, over one-third of voters wanted to restrict access to abortion even further or ban access completely. 

A plurality of respondents, 30.9%, said they wanted to keep the existing law in place.

The division over abortion law is entirely partisan. Over three-quarters of Democrats wanted to keep the current law untouched or expand abortion access, while almost 60% of Republicans want to further restrict access to abortions or ban access altogether. 

A majority of unaffiliated voters (59.3%) would prefer keeping the 20-week ban or expanding access further.

“The abortion issue should continue to affect North Carolina politics long after the 2023 session of the General Assembly,” said Poll Director David McLennan. “Passing a restrictive abortion law may put some Republican-held seats in play in the 2024 elections.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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