On Aug. 17, U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban. NC law now only provides exceptions for medical emergencies.
In 2019, Judge Osteen ruled that NC’s abortion restrictions were unconstitutional. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson on June 24, NC House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger filed a motion for Judge Osteen to vacate his previous ruling.
Governor Cooper released a statement today, saying, “Though I disagree with this ruling, the vast majority of patients will still be able to access reproductive health care in North Carolina.”
North Carolina is one of the several southern states where abortion procedures could potentially become illegal. On July 6, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order to protect women’s reproductive rights. He and other Democratic leaders have vowed to protect abortion rights in the state.
Abortion rights advocates like Kendra Johnson, Executive Director of Equality NC, had previously warned of restrictions being put in place. At a protest on June 24, Johnson said, “Make no mistake, the opposition is coming for our very lives. They’re limiting our access to life-saving medical care.”
NC Republicans have yet to pass an abortion restriction law because they are five seats short of overriding Governor Cooper’s veto. The GOP is currently targeting midterm elections in November to gain those legislative seats.
By Aminah Jenkins, Editor in Chief