NC Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes state’s ‘extreme’ abortion ban at weekend rally

“It’s going to be devastating for these people when they’re not able to access the care that they need,” said Elizabeth Barber, senior policy counsel at the ACLU of North Carolina.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed what he called a “dangerous” abortion ban that infringes on the fundamental rights of pregnant women in the state.

In a statement before his veto, the Democrat told North Carolinians, “Don’t let this so called 12 week abortion ban fool you,” adding that the bill would “effectively ban access to reproductive freedom earlier and sometimes altogether for many women because of new restrictions and requirements.”

Governor Roy Cooper
Governor Roy Cooper, D-NC address the crowd during the Rally for Respect outside the North Carolina Legislative Building on May 16, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Gov. Cooper had called on both House and Senate Republicans to “step up” and “do the right thing” to stop this “extreme” bill from being enacted into law. Yet, his requests fell on deaf ears, leaving him to take matters into his own hands.

This Saturday he is holding a “Veto Rally for Health Care Freedom” in an effort to protect “women’s reproductive freedom.” 

Although many support the governor’s veto efforts, he is outnumbered. Republicans hold the majority in the General Assembly and state Senate and they have the authority to override his veto.

North Carolina’s ban restricts abortions after 12 weeks and comes with a slew of restrictions such as requiring pregnant women to attend three in-person doctor appointments before an abortion procedure. 

Critics say attending so many appointments before the 12-week limit is not feasible for some. The legislation also requires clinics to obtain a license as “ambulatory surgical centers” which is a long and costly process that could force several abortion clinics to close. 

Elizabeth Barber, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina, told theGrio that if this ban is authorized, it will disproportionately impact vulnerable populations.

New York, USA – 26 April 2021: American Civil Liberties Union ACLU logo close-up on website page, Illustrative Editorial

Marginalized communities “already have significant barriers to accessing health care,” Barber stated. “Folks in all parts of the state. Folks who already have a hard time making ends meet. LGBTQIA people and people of color,” will be impacted the most.

This comes just weeks after North Dakota and Florida signed near-total abortions into law making it almost impossible for women to get abortions in those states. 

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida previously told theGrio that these bans are “dangerous” and that Black and Brown women will bear the burden. 

“These types of anti-abortion bans particularly target Black and Latinx people. They are hit hardest because of decades of racism and structural inequality within our health care system,” she stated. 

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES – 2023/04/15: Activists holding abortion rights signs shout slogans during a rally. Abortion rights activists rallied outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. (Photo by Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Gross told theGrio that Black women are impacted even more than other races because if they are forced to carry a child to term they could face maternal mortality, which is an increased risk for Black women. 

Barber told theGrio that Republican legislators back this controversial ban because it does not impact them.

“It doesn’t apply to their daughters. It doesn’t apply to them. It doesn’t apply to their wives, their sisters, their nieces, because they have resources and they will be able to get on a plane and go where they need to go to get the health care that they need,” she asserted.

“Not everyone is in a position of privilege to be able to do that,” she argued.

If this abortion ban is signed into law, it will have crippling effects on marginalized communities in North Carolina and those in neighboring states that have more restrictive abortion bans in place. 

More than 20 states have enacted near-total abortion bans following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022. As a result, many pregnant women from nearby states have traveled to North Carolina to get abortions at later stages in their pregnancies. 

If this bill is enacted into law, Barber told theGrio, pregnant women will have to travel to Virginia if they want to access abortion care, however this may not be feasible for Black and brown women.

“They don’t have access to childcare. They don’t have paid sick leave. They don’t have transportation. They don’t have the funds to get to one of the nine counties in our state that has an abortion clinic,” Barber informed.

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