Gov. Roy Cooper calls out lawmakers ahead of abortion bill veto and override showdown

WTVD logo
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Gov. Cooper holding roundtables ahead of abortion bill decision
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday that he would be going on the offensive this week to try to stop a GOP override of his pending abortion bill veto.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday that he would be going on the offensive this week to try to stop a GOP override of his pending abortion bill veto.

Cooper, a Democrat, is going to travel to Mecklenburg and New Hanover counties, which are homes of two Republicans who vowed during their campaigns to support women's reproductive rights but are now poised to be vital votes in limiting those rights. He also plans to hold a roundtable discussion on the topic in Guilford County. The first roundtable discussion is set to take place in Davidson at noon Tuesday.

Senate Bill 20 passed both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly on May 5. It now sits on Cooper's desk awaiting a signature or a veto. Cooper has said he will veto the bill, but he's taking the 10 days that state law gives him to decide to campaign for support in stopping the bill from becoming law.

RELATED: What happens after Gov. Cooper vetoes bill limiting abortion?

Republicans now have the numbers to override Cooper's veto -- thanks to Rep. Tricia Cotham abdicating from the Democratic party after winning election in a heavily blue district in Mecklenburg County.

In January 2023, Cotham even sponsored legislation that would have codified Roe v. Wade abortion protections into North Carolina law. In 2015, she testified on the House floor about having an abortion herself and saying things like wait times would create undue barriers for women who need the procedure.

When she decided to join the Republican Party in April, she held a news conference where she stood up and said, "I am still the same person, and I am going to do what I believe is right and follow my conscience."

Cooper hopes his speaking tour this week can put pressure on Cotham and other lawmakers who have voiced support for North Carolina's current abortion restrictions to stick by their previous statements and not allow Senate Bill 20 to go into law.

The former Democrat took questions after announcing she was now a Republican.

Cooper identified those other lawmakers as Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, Rep. John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg, and Sen. Michael Lee, R-New Hanover.

Republicans have called the restrictions in Senate Bill 20 a reflection of moderate and mainstream views within the party. They came to that conclusion after private, closed-door discussions that only included Republican lawmakers.

WATCH: Some worry bill could affect other healthcare services

Some worry the bill to limit abortion could affect the way women who have miscarriages are medically treated,

On the other hand, Cooper and other critics of the bill contend it includes extreme provisions that will place abortions out of reach for many women.

"This bill is an extreme and oppressive step backward for our society and one that will deny women the right to make decisions about their own health care and future," Democratic Sen. Sydney Batch of Wake County said.

Batch and others cite in part the requirement for women to make an in-person visit to a medical professional at least 72 hours before getting an abortion. Under current law, the three-day waiting period can be initiated on the phone. The bill would also require a doctor to schedule a follow-up visit for women who have a medically induced abortion, increasing the hardship for those who travel to North Carolina from out of state.

Below: Read the bill for yourself