SB 20 Care for Women, Children and Families Act becomes law despite governor’s veto

Most abortions will no longer be legal in North Carolina after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Both the North Carolina Senate and House voted Tuesday along party lines to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill banning abortion at 12 weeks.

The law lowers the state’s cutoff for most abortions from 20 weeks to 12 weeks and requires patients to meet in-person with a physician at least 72 hours before the procedure takes effect July 1.

Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 20 on Saturday, which sent it back to the General Assembly, warning that the legislation would make women jump through hoops to receive care and could lead to clinics closing.

The ban includes exceptions for rape and incest (20 weeks) and life-limiting fetal anomalies (24 weeks). Also, abortions will be legal when a doctor declares a medical emergency, such as when the mother’s life is in danger.  It also says that in medical abortions — or procedures that involve an “abortion-inducing drug” like mifepristone — physicians “shall” first verify that the fetus’ gestational age is less than 70 days, or 10 weeks.

In February, the North Carolina Medical Society released a new policy on reproductive healthcare, unanimously approved by the NCMS Board of Directors.  The Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care reenforces the NCMS fundamental belief that medical decisions should be made between a patient and their physician/clinician. This is especially true when it comes to personal and complex decisions around reproductive health.

The policy is a joint effort between the NCMS Policy Committee, NCMS Ethical & Judicial Affairs Committee, and external experts in obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency medicine.

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