Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, the legality of abortion in North Carolina currently still stands. But the future of abortion rights in the state is uncertain.
The decision reversed nearly 50 years of precedent protecting the right to an abortion. Now, the legality of abortion is a state-level decision.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper wrote in a Friday statement that he would “continue to trust women to make their own medical decisions as we fight to keep politicians out of the doctor’s exam room.”
How to get an abortion in North Carolina
Duke Health has also said they will continue to provide abortion services and expects an increase in out of state patients.
Currently one in five patients seeking an abortion in North Carolina come from out of state.
More out-of-state abortion seekers are expected to come to North Carolina in the coming weeks as several states in the South have abortion bans that will take effect in weeks.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the state requires mandatory counseling as a first step. In addition, there is a 72-hour waiting period before one can undergo the procedure. Abortion medication must be administered in-person. An abortion may be performed at or after viability only in cases of life endangerment or severely compromised health.
As The Chronicle previously reported, while the legality of abortion in North Carolina is currently protected, the state’s legislature holds a Republican majority—but not a supermajority. This means that the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t have the power to impose an outright ban as long as Cooper, who is a Democrat, stays in office.
However, a 1973 law that banned abortion after the patient’s 20th week of gestation, previously found to be unconstitutional under Roe by a federal appeals court, is still on the books in North Carolina. Now that Roe has been overturned, this law goes into effect.
Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry has joined a network of prosecutors who are “pledging not to criminalize people who seek or provide abortions.”
NCGA elections will take place in November, and if Republicans gain a supermajority of 60% of seats, laws that are passed would be veto-proof. This could mean that additional bans on abortion will be passed in North Carolina.
“The last few days have been hard. But know that as long as I’m Governor, and voters keep enough Democrats in the legislature this November to sustain my veto, we will protect women’s reproductive freedom in North Carolina,” Cooper tweeted on Monday.
Cooper will not seek reelection in 2024 due to term limits.
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Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume. He has also contributed to the sports section.