(RALEIGH, N.C.)– North Carolina legislators have introduced a new abortion bill that would ban the procedure after 12 weeks.
Republican leaders announced in a news conference Tuesday there was agreement in the GOP-controlled House and Senate to reduce the state’s abortion ban, which currently sits at 20 weeks, to the end of the first trimester.
The bill, known as “The Care for Women, Children and Families Act,” offers exceptions in cases of rape and incest up to 20 weeks’ gestation and for fetal anomalies up to 24 weeks’ gestation.
The current exception that allows an abortion if the life of the mother is in danger will remain in place.
Final votes are expected to take place Wednesday in the state House and Thursday in the state Senate, lawmakers told reporters.
“It’s time for North Carolina to take the nest step forward in honoring the sanctity of human life,” state Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Republican, said during the press conference, according to local ABC affiliate WTVD. “We are beginning the process of creating a culture that values life, and that’s something we can all be incredibly proud of.”
Before an abortion is performed, pregnant people must receive a consultation in person at least 72 hours prior about the potential risks of receiving an abortion and other options, including adoption or that the father is liable to pay child support.
Research has shown that abortions performed in a clean area with properly trained staff are very safe. Between 2013 and 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the national case-fatality rate was 0.41 abortion-related deaths per 100,000 legal abortions.
The pregnant person must also receive an ultrasound prior to the abortion as well as notice that they can look at “the remains” after the procedure is completed.
Providers who perform an abortion past 12 weeks will be required to provide information to the state Department of Health and Human Services, including “the probable gestational age” of the fetus, its measurements and an ultrasound image as well as how the provider determined the pregnancy fell into one of the exceptions.
Any physician who violates the bill will be subject to discipline from the North Carolina Medical Board, which includes potentially being placed on probation, public reprimanding, paying a fine, educational training or having their license revoked.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s tweeted a statement Wednesday that he did not support the bill and planned to veto it.
“It will effectively ban access to reproductive freedom earlier and sometimes altogether for many women because of new restrictions and requirements,” he wrote. “This is why Republicans are ramming it through with no chance to amend. I will veto this extreme ban and need everyone’s help to avoid it.”
Cooper’s veto power, if the bill is passed, would only delay its enactment. Republicans hold a supermajority in the Senate and are close to a supermajority in the House, which would override the veto.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade over the summer, 15 states have ceased nearly all abortion services.
Florida will be the 16th state once a new six-week abortion ban is implemented — but only if the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld as legal challenges play out in court.
Additionally, Utah passed a bill earlier this year banning abortion clinics in the state. Starting May 3, the state’s health department would not be allowed to grant new licenses, but it was blocked by a state judge Tuesday.
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