Republican lawmakers in North Carolina said on May 2nd they’ve agreed to back a bill that would outlaw most abortions after the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. Both chambers of the state house are controlled by the GOP. House Speaker Tim Moore joined Senate leader Phil Berger at a news conference to say there is “consensus” among Republicans in both chambers.
Current state law bans almost all abortions that occur after 20 weeks. The proposed bill would lower that limit to 12 weeks but add exemptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. The bill would also preserve the current exemption when the mother’s life is in danger.
While the final form of the bill is not yet known, legislators say it will limit abortions to 20 weeks in the cases of rape or incest. The limit will be 24 weeks for what are called “life-limiting” defects in the fetus. The bill includes fines for doctors who do not adhere to the law’s exemptions.
The bill also addresses adoption and health care for children and pregnant women.
Republican state Senator Joyce Krawiec was one of the negotiators on the bill. She said it was time for the state to “step forward in honoring the sanctity of human life.” The bill would save lives and improve the health of pregnant women, she said.
But if the bill makes it to the governor’s desk it may stop there. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper campaigned on a platform of protecting access to abortion and has said it would be “extreme” to ban abortions that take place at fewer than 20 weeks of pregnancy. Cooper sent a fundraising email on May 2nd that said the bill was an attack on the women of North Carolina, and that it was egregious and unacceptable.
If Cooper vetoes the bill, at least some Democrats would have to cast an override vote to make the bill law.