Future of abortion law lies with NC legislature as Roe v Wade's 50th anniversary nears

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Saturday, January 21, 2023
Fate of abortion law with NC lawmakers as Roe v Wade anniversary nears
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'Very wide range of possible outcomes'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- This Sunday would have been the 50th anniversary since the landmark decision granted a constitutional right to abortion.

Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, but North Carolina is one of the few states in the South where abortion is legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights lists North Carolina as "hostile" to abortion, with numerous restrictions making it difficult to access abortion care in the state, such as a counseling requirement, waiting period requirement and parental involvement.

"Sadly, so many people have to take time off from work, the cost of travel, childcare, lodging, and then the cost of the procedure, it's all it all adds up," Amber Gavin of A Woman's Choice, Inc. said. "With the overturning of Roe, it's only making it harder and pushing it out of reach for so many people."

Gavin said the people most affected by limited access to care includes people of color and young people.

"One of the things that we do take very seriously, is making sure that our patients do have the support that they need to access their care," Gavin said. "Whether that's financial assistance to come help cover the cost of their abortion or travel ... if that means meals while they travel for them and their families."

President Joe Biden said in a proclamation on Friday that his administration is "resolute in its commitment to defending reproductive rights and continuing our Nation's progress toward equality for all."

White House Deputy Press Secretary Emilie Simons said it's critical that Congress takes the step to codify Roe.

"Right now, we don't have the votes for that," Simons said. "That's why it's been so important ... to really do what we can to protect the right to travel to protect the physical safety of clinics, and providers, and clinicians. So, we're going to continue taking every step we can, and we're going to continue putting pressure on Congress to do the same."

There's a fight over abortion rights in North Carolina.

"For Democrats, preventing any further erosion of access to abortion is clearly their goal," NC State Political Science Professor Steven Greene said. "For Republicans, the goal is almost surely going to be to further limit access to abortion."

Greene said it's possible we could see a severe curtailment of access to abortion or limited to no change at all.

"There's a very wide range of possible outcomes at this point," Greene said. "When it's an issue this close ... the voice of the people matters."