Gov. Cooper signs Executive Order to strengthen abortion access in North Carolina

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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"This order will help protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients from cruel, right wing criminal laws passed by other states," Gov. Cooper said.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Governor Cooper was joined by political candidates and representatives from Planned Parenthood Wednesday afternoon, where he signed a new Executive Order to enhance abortion access in North Carolina.

"This order will help protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients from cruel, right wing criminal laws passed by other states. It will help coordinate health care access. And it will help ensure that local police are enforcing our state law that prevents anyone from obstructing or barring access to a healthcare facility," said Cooper.

The Executive Order prohibits Cabinet agencies from cooperating in investigations initiated by other states into people obtaining reproductive services in North Carolina.

This comes just twelve days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had stood for nearly fifty years. While abortion rights in North Carolina have not been impacted, stricter regulations and near total-bans are now in effect in other states.

"People throughout the southeast rely on North Carolina as an access point. Without Governor Cooper's help, without his veto, access for people in North Carolina and South Carolina, Tennessee, and the entire region would be devastated," said Alexis McGill Johnson, the President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Currently, Republicans do not have enough votes to form a supermajority to overcome any vetoes from Governor Cooper, though the margin is thin and analysts are predicting a strong performance for the party in November. Cooper pointed to the importance of the upcoming midterms, with Johnson adding that Planned Parenthood Action Fund, along with Emily's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America, plan to spend $150 million on races across the country to support pro-abortion candidates.

North Carolina has attracted several high-profile jobs announcements and projects; Cooper expressed concern should stricter regulations be passed in North Carolina.

"I've had a number of conversations with CEO's over the last few years, and I think that having a forward-thinking state particularly on these social issues is important to these businesses. This Supreme Court is very recent. I think we're still seeing reaction from companies not only across our state but across the country. I think we create an amazing atmosphere, the right kind of balance, not only would bad legislation by the General Assembly on this issue be destructive to women and their families, and it's wrong in it of itself but I do think it would have a negative effect on economic growth here," said Cooper.

House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, pushed back on the Governor's assertion. In a statement shared with ABC 11, his office wrote:

"Governor Cooper is desperate to distract voters from his party's failed economic record. Today's announcement is nothing more than electioneering, and his predictions about future legislation are simply baseless fearmongering."

ABC 11 reached out to Senate President Phil Berger's office for comment on the Executive Order, but have not heard back at this time.