North Carolina lawmakers voted Tuesday night to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a 12-week abortion ban. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
May 16 (UPI) -- North Carolina Republicans used their supermajority powers to quash Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a 12-week abortion ban Tuesday night, making it the latest state to restrict the medical procedure following last summer's end of Roe vs. Wade.
The override was approved first by Republicans in the Senate with a 30-20 vote and then those in the House by a vote of 72-48. Not a single Democrat cast their name in favor of enacting Senate Bill 20, which reduces the legal limit for an abortion from 20 weeks' gestation to 12.
Republicans had last week approved the measure but were stymied on Saturday with a veto by Cooper who called the bill "a dangerous abortion ban" that would have "devastating impacts on women's reproductive healthcare."
The GOP lawmakers, who already had a supermajority in the Senate, were able to override Cooper due to the slim veto-proof supermajority they had gained in the House last month when Democrat state Rep. Tricia Cotham switched parties.
The law, which will go into effect July 1, includes other restrictions, such as allowing healthcare providers to object to performing the procedure "on moral, ethnical or religious grounds."
It also mandates that the procedure be performed in a hospital, that anyone seeking the procedure undergo three in-person appointments scheduled days apart and that doctors confirm the probable gestational age of a fetus is no more than 70 days, or 10 weeks, before distributing abortion-inducing drugs, among other restrictions.
The law also includes $160 billion in funding for childcare, foster care and parental leave.
Following the vote Tuesday, Cooper lashed out at the Republican lawmakers, saying strong majorities in the state don't want right-wing politicians interfering in healthcare.
"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 facing our state," he said in a statement. "I will continue doing everything I can to protect abortion access in North Carolina because women's lives depend on it."
Cooper highlighted that the measure was passed by several Republican lawmakers who had promised to protect women's reproductive freedom -- seemingly a jab at Cotham who vowed to fight to codify abortion protections into the state's Constitution and to "continue my strong record of defending the right to choose."
The White House on Tuesday night also described the bill as being "out of touch" with the majority of North Carolinians.
"The North Carolina ban will harm patients and threaten doctors for providing essential care," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The abortion restriction was pursued in North Carolina as Republicans the nation over pushed similar restrictions after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court last year overturned the 1973 landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, which provided federal protections for abortion.
Those in favor of S.B. 20 cheered the override on Tuesday, with the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America advocacy group accusing Cooper of having deployed bully tactics in "the fight for life."
"Elected officials and candidates across this country should take note how pro-life leaders stood up to the extreme abortion agenda of the Democrats to protect life and serve mothers," Marjorie Dannenfelser, the non-profit's president, said in a statement.
The North Carolina Republican Party framed the override of Cooper's veto as Democrats being out of step with their constituents.
"Republican lawmakers are to be commended for standing up to this desperate intimidation campaign," it said.
While the vote is being cheered by the right, civil, reproductive and women's rights advocates see it as regressive.
"This is a devastating loss for the fundamental rights of North Carolinians," American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Senior Police counsel Liz Barber said in a statement.
"This abortion ban is life-threatening. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth against their will is a human rights violation of the highest order."
Pro-Choice North Carolina vowed in a statement that they will keep fighting to protect access to the medical procedure.
"We are the majority, and we will not stop fighting for abortion access and reproductive freedom for all."