'Human Life Protection Act': NC House bill would further limit abortion

Thursday, March 30, 2023
'Human Life Protection Act': NC bill would further limit abortion
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A North Carolina Republican lawmaker filed legislation Wednesday that would limit abortion except when a mother's life is in danger.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A North Carolina Republican lawmaker filed legislation Wednesday that would limit abortion except when a mother's life is in danger.

Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, was joined by Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond and Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan, in filing House Bill 533, also known as the Human Life Protection Act of 2023.

"If you are reading this, you have been blessed with the gift of life," Moss said. "Every human life has value from the womb to the tomb, and I am thrilled to introduce this legislation that will defend the dignity and sanctity of every person. I will continue to promote a culture of life and ensure that every child, regardless of circumstance, is given the chance to flourish and thrive."

The bill was read Thursday and passed its first reading. It is now heading to committee. The language reads, "an act to prohibit abortion after conception except when necessary to preserve the life of the mother."


The future of the bill, however, remains in question. Political analyst Mitch Kokai called the bill "a statement", but said it's a potentially strategic one.

"Perhaps if you put this bill out there -- that when there's another bill that says abortions are OK through 6 weeks, or abortions are OK through 13 weeks, some people would look at that and say -- well at least it's not that first bill," Kokai said.

Even if a less restrictive abortion ban was filed in the House, Kokai added that it would likely face a gubernatorial veto, and would require Democrats to break with Gov. Roy Cooper to overcome it.

"I haven't heard of any Democrats at this point saying they're willing to not only go along with Republicans on some sort of abortion bill but then also agree to buck Gov. Cooper and help override a veto," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union quickly condemned the proposal.

"This is the kind of attack on abortion we have feared and prepared for in North Carolina," said Liz Barber, Senior Policy Counsel for the ACLU. "A ban on abortion like the one put forth in this bill would put the rights, health, and well-being of millions of North Carolinians at risk. Like all anti-abortion legislation, this bill threatens our right to control our own bodies, our economic security, and the visions we have for our futures. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth against their will."

The ACLU said it has braced for attacks on abortion in North Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision on Dobbs v. Jackson in June of 2022.

In February, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, cautioned against expecting quick movement within the General Assembly among Republicans interested in further restricting abortions.