NC may soon join growing list of states enacting new abortion restrictions

May 17, 2019 GMT

Abortion has been the social conservative issue of the year in legislatures nationwide, and North Carolina could join that movement soon.

The House may hold a vote Monday night to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill would make it a felony for a doctor not to provide care for an infant born after a botched abortion, and it creates a duty for other health care professionals to report any such failure to act.

Backers of such laws, including President Donald Trump, claim that doctors are executing babies after they’re born.


That would be murder under state law, but Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, claims it happens here anyway.

“This is about cases that happen inside an abortion clinic, where a baby is born as an inconvenience to everyone in the clinic, and the baby is put on the shelf to die or is helped to die,” Fitzgerald said.

Lindsay Robinson, state public affairs director for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said that scenario just doesn’t happen and that North Carolina’s legislation is intended to demonize doctors.

“Doctors have a scope of practice that they practice within. and they are trained to do what it is best on behalf of their patient,” Robinson said. “That is what we believe to be true, and we stand with women who trust doctors.”

The North Carolina Senate has already overridden Cooper’s veto, so the bill would become law in North Carolina if Republican leadership in the House can cobble together a three-fifths majority vote.

Wisconsin’s legislature passed a similar measure this week, while other states have put more sweeping laws on the books:

With the new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents are hoping to get a case before them to limit or overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

A judge has already blocked Kentucky’s law, and a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s law has been filed.

“We’ve seen a number of egregious bills across the country that have been part of Trump’s national playbook – the administration’s national playbook – to really fast-track these bills to get to the Supreme Court, right, in hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade,” Robinson said.

Fitzgerald agreed a Supreme Court hearing is the goal.

“Unborn babies are really babies. They have fingers and toes. They have a heartbeat at six to eight weeks,” she said. “So, these are really humans, and the Supreme Court made a mistake in 1973.”

North Carolina lawmakers could soon have a bigger abortion battle on their hands.

A federal judge in March struck down the state’s long-standing ban on abortion after 20 weeks or pregnancy, ruling that such an arbitrary timeline could deprive a woman of a right to an abortion before her fetus is viable. The ruling is on hold until June.