On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper released a video outlining the devastating impact Senate Bill 20 would have on women’s reproductive health in North Carolina and calling on several Republican legislators to keep their campaign promises to protect women’s health.
This week, Governor Cooper will travel across the state to raise awareness about the dangers of this abortion ban and expose the extreme provisions that will put reproductive care out of reach for many women. The Governor will travel to Mecklenburg and New Hanover counties, home to Republican legislators who made campaign promises to protect women’s reproductive health and urge their constituents to ask them to keep their promises. The Governor will also hold a roundtable in Guilford County.
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 medical 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;
- Implement new regulations and 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, Rep. 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.
Details about the roundtables will be released throughout the week.