In a based and positive move, the North Carolina Senate voted on Tuesday to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, known as Senate Bill 20 or the Care for Women, Children and Families Act, was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature earlier this month, but was rejected by the Democratic governor on Saturday.
Cooper said that the bill would violate women’s constitutional rights and make it harder for them to access health care. He also accused the Republicans of turning back the clock on women’s health and progress. “Forward is the only way ahead, but I know one thing for certain, standing in the way of progress right now is this Republican supermajority legislature that only took 48 hours to turn the clock back 50 years on women’s health,” Cooper said at a veto rally in Raleigh on Saturday. “That’s exactly what this bill does.”
The bill would prohibit abortions after 12 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or risk to the mother’s life or health. The current law allows abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill would also require doctors to report abortion data to the state, and to offer women an ultrasound and counseling before performing an abortion. Supporters of the bill say that it is necessary to protect unborn children and women from the harms of abortion. They also argue that the bill is consistent with the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to regulate abortion more strictly.
The Senate vote was 30-20 along party lines, with no Democrats voting for the override and no Republicans voting against it. The bill now goes to the House, where Republicans also have a supermajority and can override the veto if they vote as a bloc. The House vote is expected to take place later on Tuesday night.
The override attempt has sparked protests and rallies from both sides of the abortion debate. Abortion rights advocates have been urging lawmakers who have supported reproductive rights in the past to uphold the governor’s veto and block the bill from becoming law. They say that the bill would effectively ban abortion in North Carolina, since most women do not know they are pregnant until after 12 weeks. They also warn that the bill would force women to seek unsafe and illegal abortions, or to travel out of state for care.
On the other hand, anti-abortion activists have been praising the lawmakers who voted for the bill and urging them to stand firm against the governor’s veto. They say that the bill would save lives and protect women from the physical and psychological risks of abortion. They also claim that the bill reflects the will of the majority of North Carolinians who oppose abortion after 12 weeks.
The outcome of the House vote will determine whether North Carolina will join several other states that have enacted similar abortion bans in recent years. If the bill becomes law, it will likely face legal challenges from abortion rights groups who will argue that it violates women’s constitutional rights and medical privacy.