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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Governor Cooper Holds Women’s Health Roundtable in Mecklenburg County, Highlights Dangers of Extreme Abortion Ban Senate Bill 20
Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about women’s reproductive health and the devastating impacts that SB20, the abortion ban recently passed by the legislature, would have on women’s reproductive freedom in North Carolina.
May 9, 2023
Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about women’s reproductive health and the devastating impacts that SB20, the abortion ban recently passed by the legislature, would have on women’s reproductive freedom in North Carolina. This discussion was held in Mecklenburg County, home to several Republican legislators who made campaign promises to protect women’s reproductive health and whose support for this ban would break those promises to their constituents.
“Experts confirm that this legislation is not a 12 week ban as Republicans claim but an extreme bill that bans many abortions altogether,” said Governor Cooper. “Representatives Cotham and Bradford specifically promised to protect women’s reproductive freedom and we want the people of Mecklenburg County to ask that they keep that promise.”
Governor Cooper was joined by physicians, patients and advocates who shared deeply personal stories about how an abortion ban would be harmful for North Carolinians. The physicians explained that this abortion ban would make abortion unavailable for many women who live in rural areas, are working to make ends meet, or don’t have access to affordable health care. They also shared concerns about how this ban could put women's lives in danger by letting politicians call the shots instead of doctors.
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. This includes the following Republicans in Mecklenburg County:
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 fortestifying on the House floorabout 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."