Abortion law amendments move through NC Senate

Jamiese Price Image
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Abortion law amendments move through NC Senate
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Wednesday in Greensboro, a judge could decide whether or not to block some key parts of the North Carolina abortion law while a federal lawsuit plays out.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the 11th hour on Monday, some last-minute changes came to the new abortion law.

"The bill is to clarify some issues that have been brought up in connection with Senate Bill 20," said Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, following the vote on Monday night.

Republican Senate leadership called the changes technical in nature. Changes such as removing language in the original bill that limited medication abortions to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, instead of 12 weeks.

Those concerns are being brought to the forefront in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Dr. Beverly Gray, an OBGYN out of Durham.

"These amendments demonstrate the fact that this bill was rushed through, it was sloppily drafted. Now they're having to go back and make clarifying changes based off of our lawsuit, which to me, they're working to undermine our lawsuit. But we will have our day in court," said Jillian Riley, Planned Parenthood Director of Public Affairs.

That day is Wednesday in Greensboro when a judge could decide whether or not to block some key parts of the law while a federal lawsuit plays out.

"There are many contradictory elements in this bill that just don't make sense for the people of North Carolina. if we don't fully understand what's in this bill and how it's written how are we going to be able to provide that care," Riley said.

Republicans disagreed, saying the language is clear and fair.

"I do think that the law we passed is fully constitutional, fully appropriate under the law, particularly given the US Supreme Court's decision placing the decision-making on these issues at the state level," said Berger, who represents parts of Guilford and Rockingham counties.

Democrats focused on their efforts to make changes to the bill that addressed criminal liability for people driving a woman out of state to have an abortion

They hoped to prevent would-be fathers from suing women and their doctors who perform an abortion without the father's permission.

Those efforts fell short on the Senate floor.

Abortion is health care," said Democrat Sen. Natalie Murdock, who represents Durham and Chatham counties. "But with our state's abortion ban, abortion opponents have manipulated the complexities of medical and personal decisions about pregnancy loss to distract from the real goal to punish women and their doctors."