Saturday, May 13, 2023

Governor Cooper Hosts Reproductive Health Roundtable in New Hanover County, Speaks with Physicians and Advocates about Senate Bill 20’s Dangerous Abortion Ban

Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about women’s reproductive health and the dangers that Senate Bill 20’s extreme abortion ban would have on reproductive freedom in the state.
May 13, 2023

Today, Governor Roy Cooper held a roundtable discussion about women’s reproductive health and the dangers that Senate Bill 20’s extreme abortion ban would have on reproductive freedom in the state. The discussion was held in New Hanover County, home to several Republican legislators who promised to protect women’s reproductive health during their campaigns 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. “Some Republican legislators specifically promised to protect women’s reproductive freedom and we want the people of New Hanover County to ask that they keep that promise.”

"Governor Cooper has always been a champion for reproductive health care, and we are so grateful for his efforts this week to ring the alarm on the dangers of this sweeping abortion ban,” said Jenny Black, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “This ban is opposed by the North Carolina Medical Society, the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians because it will harm their patients and prevent people from getting the health care they want and need. The medical community sees this bill for what it is: dangerous policy that will ban abortion after an arbitrary point in pregnancy and restrict access to abortion across the board. Doctors should never be hamstrung by politics or given mandates based on political polling numbers, and people need to be able to make decisions about their own bodies and health care at all points in pregnancy."

The Governor was joined by physicians, patients and advocates who shared personal stories about how an abortion ban would be dangerous for North Carolinians. The physicians explained that this legislation would ban many abortions altogether.

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 medication 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;
  • Direct the NC Medical Care Commission to rewrite regulations on clinics, which could result in medically unnecessary and onerous 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 New Hanover County:

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)

Sen. Michael Lee (SD-09, New Hanover County)

  • In 2022, Sen. 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.


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