Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that the proposed 12-week abortion ban in his state would largely put an end to abortion in North Carolina.
The legislation, approved last week and sent to Cooper, would restrict abortion to within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (down from 20) but also apply other restrictions as well. “They’ve dressed this up as a 12-week ban, but it’s really not,” Cooper, a Democrat, told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
He added: “It will effectively ban many abortions altogether, because of the obstacles that they have created for women, for clinics and for doctors.”
Cooper has vowed to veto the bill, but Republican legislators hold large majorities in both the General Assembly and state Senate and could override the veto.
“They ran through a bill in 48 hours with no public input, with no amendments, that drastically reduces access to reproductive freedom for women,” said Cooper of the Republican lawmakers.
North Carolina’s laws, until now at least, have made it something of an aberration in the South, where stricter abortion laws have gone into effect in the last year, since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The unborn will be recognized as having a fundamental right to be born, and mothers will get our unconditional support. It’s time to catch up with the science that affirms parenthood before birth,” said Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Republican member of the General Assembly of the new legislation.
Cooper characterized the measure as harmful to women’s health.
“North Carolina has become an access point in the Southeast,” he told Brennan. “And what this legislation is going to do is going to prevent many women from getting abortions at any time during their pregnancy, because of the obstructions that they had put here. Many of these clinics are working very hard to treat women, and now they’re going to have many new medically unnecessary requirements that I think many of them are going to have to close.”
Cooper said he was hopeful that at least one Republican would decide not to override his veto.
“We only need one Republican to keep a promise,” Cooper said. “At least four Republican legislators made promises to their constituents during this campaign that they were going to protect women’s reproductive freedom. They only have a supermajority by one vote in the Senate, and one vote in the House. And we’ve seen Republicans across the country step up. We saw them step up in South Carolina, we saw them step up in Nebraska, because they know that people don’t want abortion bans.”