RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about women’s reproductive health and the dangerous impacts that Senate Bill 20, the abortion ban passed by the legislature, would have on reproductive freedom in the state.
“I’ve spent the week meeting with doctors and clinic operators who all agree that this dangerous ban would make abortion unavailable to many women and could put their lives at risk,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Several Republican legislators campaigned on the promise to protect women’s reproductive health and we want North Carolinians to ask that they keep that promise.”
“For the sake of my patients, I hope lawmakers reconsider this dangerous legislation that rolls back women’s rights from 20 to 12 weeks, subverts evidence-based medical care, and will put abortion out of reach for many patients who need it,” said Dr. Jonas Swartz, M.D., Obstetrician and Gynecologist. “Medical experts across North Carolina have spoken out against this legislation because it would prevent us from providing the best care for our patients.”
The Governor was joined by physicians, patients and advocates who shared stories about how Senate Bill 20’s abortion ban would be devastating for North Carolinians. The physicians discussed how this legislation would dramatically reduce access to reproductive freedom.
Despite Republican attempts to disguise this abortion ban as “mainstream,” Senate Bill 20 would dramatically reduce access to abortion and could cause women’s health clinics across the state to shut down. In addition to imposing a general ban on abortions after twelve weeks, this bill would:
- Ban medication abortions after 10 weeks; medication abortions account for approximately 60 percent of all abortions in North Carolina;
- Require three in-person appointments days apart for anyone seeking a medication abortion, which doctors have called “medically unjustified and unnecessary,” and make care harder to access for anyone who can’t take off work, afford to travel, stay in a hotel or get extra child care;
- Significantly increase the number of burdensome attestations for patients to complete prior to receiving reproductive health care;
- Direct the NC Medical Care Commission to rewrite regulations on clinics, which could result in medically unnecessary and onerous licensing requirements that don’t contribute to patient safety and could cause the closure of clinics providing abortions across the state.
Several Republican legislators campaigned on promises to protect women’s reproductive health. They still have time to keep those promises if they vote to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto. Those Republicans include:
Rep. Ted Davis (HD-20, New Hanover County)
- In 2022, Rep. Davis said he supports “what the law is in North Carolina right now” and “if a woman desires to have an abortion up to the first 20 weeks which is in the second trimester of pregnancy, she can have an abortion” (New Hanover County Republican Party, 10/19/22)
Rep. John Bradford (HD-98, Mecklenburg County)
- In 2022, Rep. Bradford said he “supports the current law” and had “no intentions myself of going back to Raleigh and trying to make the 20 weeks more restrictive” (Axios, 10/24/22).
- When asked about his position on abortion during a candidate forum in 2022, Rep. Bradford said he supports the current law in North Carolina, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. (Cornelius Today, 10/14/22)
Rep. Tricia Cotham (HD-112, Mecklenburg County)
- Rep. Cotham has repeatedly expressed support for codifying Roe v. Wade and campaigned on her commitment to defend women’s reproductive freedom.
- As recently as January 2023, Rep. Cotham joined NC Democrats in sponsoring legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade in North Carolina.
- Rep. Cotham made headlines in 2015 for testifying on the House floor about her own experience having an abortion, saying the issue was personal and a proposed extended wait time would implement barriers to abortion.
- During her testimony, Rep. Cotham said, “This decision was up to me, my husband, my doctor and my god. It was not up to any of you in this chamber.”
Sen. Michael Lee (SD-09, New Hanover County)
- In 2022, Sen. Lee claimed he was “against bans in the first trimester.” (Sen. Lee Op-Ed, 9/14/22) This legislation implements a ban in the first trimester for medication abortion and creates an effective ban in the first trimester for many women because of the increased requirements and potential closure of clinics.
On Saturday, Governor Cooper is holding a Veto Rally for Health Care Freedom where he will veto the dangerous abortion ban Senate Bill 20 and rally supporters to help sustain his veto.
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash