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12-week abortion ban passes NC Senate

N.C. Senate chamber
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

On Thursday, May 4, the Republican-controlled state Senate passed a bill that would outlaw most abortions after 12 weeks.

The bill was just introduced last Tuesday and passed by the state’s House on Wednesday. Gov. Cooper said he would veto the bill, but because of the Republicans' supermajority after Tricia Cotham’s defection to the state GOP, that will likely be overruled.

There has been speculation in recent weeks over when, and just how far the latest restrictions would go. The bill is the latest blow to abortion access — especially because North Carolina is considered an “abortion destination.” The state has seen a 37% increase in abortions since the Dobbs decision, largely due to an increase of women crossing state lines.

Republicans have framed the “Care for Women, Children and Families Act,” as a “mainstream” compromise, according to The New York Times, because some states have restricted abortions to as few as six weeks, if not banning them outright.

Is this just the latest restriction from an emboldened GOP, or will national Republicans continue to push states toward even stricter laws? And with the 2024 election around the corner, will these decisions have political consequences?

We speak with three experts about the new bill, its impact in North Carolina and how the decision may impact women far beyond the state’s borders.


Dr. Beverly Gray, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University

Colin Campbell, state Capitol Bureau Chief for WUNC

Susan Roberts, professor of political science at Davidson College

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