Two years later, North Carolina abortion law among strictest



(The Center Square) – Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn sending abortion law back to the states, North Carolina is one of two restricting at 12 weeks post-fertilization.

It’s been a hot-button issue since the announcement June 24, 2022, and it’s one that political campaigns have grappled with – Democrats using it for success at the polls, Republicans preaching conservative values.

Roe v. Wade ruled the land for just shy of a half-century. It’s been an even more prominent calling card of progressives since the overturn.

Fourteen states restrict abortion after conception, three more at six weeks post-fertilization. The state Democratic Party continues to hammer Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a gubernatorial candidate who has said there’s “no compromise on abortion” and does not “believe in abortion under any circumstance.”

Democrats say if he prevails against Attorney General Josh Stein, Robinson would change North Carolina law. Executive orders are the authoritative tool for governors in the state; they do not file bills. And lawmakers in the General Assembly – unhappy with Gov. Roy Cooper’s use of them – has taken steps to weaken that ability.

The Care for Women, Children, and Families Act led to jam-packed seating at the Legislature in the summer of 2023, with opponents and advocates jockeying to be heard. On Dec. 1, it was enacted. The law stops abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions. The state’s previous law stopped abortions after 20 weeks.

There are exceptions through 20 weeks for rape and incest, and through 24 weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies. There is a medical emergency exception.

The June 13 announcement from the high court on mifepristone was roundly praised by Democrats from the state, with Republicans mostly silent. Polling in the state, since May 1, has placed the economy as a consensus top issue for voters. Abortion and immigration are next.

In April, state Democratic Party Chairwoman Anderson Clayton said, “Abortion is going to be the No. 1 issue that we run on for people in North Carolina to make sure that folks know we’ve got to protect not only abortion but also contraception.”

As for other states, one restricts at 15 weeks post-fertilization, another at 18 weeks. Four restrict at 20 weeks or 22 weeks after the last menstrual period. Four others restrict abortion at 24 weeks since the last menstrual period.

Eleven states restrict abortion at fetal viability, and one in the third trimester. The Supreme Court, in its overturn, defined fetal viability at about seven months, or 28 weeks, but said it may occur earlier even at 24 weeks.

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