North Carolina could be 'hardest fought battlegrounds' for abortion ban

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022
NC could be 'hardest fought battlegrounds' for abortion ban
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North Carolina is not a "trigger-law" state but that doesn't mean abortion doesn't face challenges from state lawmakers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The future of Roe vs. Wade is looking bleak after that unprecedented leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion, which suggested the 1973 law will be struck down.

Thirteen states have passed so-called trigger laws. Those are abortion bans that are ready to go into effect if the High Court strikes down Roe.

North Carolina is not one of those states, but that doesn't mean abortion doesn't face challenges from state lawmakers.

Democrats are boasting that they have and will continue to strike down restrictive laws.

It remains to be seen how long they can hold that line.

There would be an opening for the Republican-controlled legislature to enact certain laws, and the pressure will be there.

"We are going to be surrounded by states certainly to the south and west where abortion rapidly becomes illegal, and people start coming to North Carolina for abortions," said N.C. State Political Science professor Steven Greene.

Democrats are preparing for a big change and fierce war ahead.

"To be clear, if we do not elect pro-choice Democrats in November, North Carolina will become the next Texas, Florida, Oklahoma," said Sen. Natalie Murdock, who represents Durham County.

They're trying to reassure their constituents that they will block bans.

"Democrats in the Senate are 22 strong and we will continue to protect women's reproductive health rights in the Senate. Republicans need 30 votes in the Senate to override a veto. As long as we're here, that's not going to happen," said Sen. Wiley Nickel, who represents Wake County.

Republicans could gain more seats in the midterm elections, strengthen their grip, and swiftly pass laws.

ABC11 reached out to House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger. Both GOP leaders are seeking re-election.

We asked specifically whether there are any plans to draft legislation on the state level if Roe vs Wade is reversed.

ABC11 has not heard back from either lawmaker.

Greene said he believes abortion will be the main issue when voters cast their ballots.

"We're a very closely divided state on this. If you're Texas, you just know what's going to happen, they're going to severely restrict or ban abortion. If you're California, you know they're going to protect abortion. But we are a swing state. We are a purple state. We are a state that can go either way, so we are going to be honestly one of the hardest fought battlegrounds over abortion in coming years," said Greene.

Gov. Roy Cooper is strongly encouraging other governors to stand up to "work to defend a woman's right to choose."