Roe v Wade Decision: What does Supreme Court abortion ruling mean for North Carolina

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Friday, June 24, 2022
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The Supreme Court sent ripples across the country Friday by overturning the landmark case from 1973 that secured abortion rights for Americans.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Supreme Court's ruling to overturn the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade will create a battle in North Carolina.

The decision does not immediately make abortion illegal. Instead, it removes the constitutional protection for a woman's right to an abortion. That means the legality of abortion would fall to state governments.

So what happens to abortion rights in North Carolina?

Abortion is currently legal in North Carolina, but there are some restrictions on the service in the state.

In 2010, Republicans in the state legislature passed the "Women's Right to Know Act" which requires people seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and implemented a 24-hour waiting period. In 2015, former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law extending the waiting period to 72 hours.

Republicans have continued to try to pass more restrictions on abortion in the state, but those efforts have been stopped by vetoes from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. The overturning of Roe v. Wade could reinvigorate the Republican push to restrict access to abortions.

Cooper recently stated that he will stand up for a woman's choice.

In addition, the federal government could try to pass a law concerning abortion. Democrats control the House, Senate and Presidency. However, the party has not yet shown the ability to get all members to fall in line and vote together on contentious issues.

According to NC Policy Watch, North Carolina is one state that may see an increased demand for abortion services now that the Supreme Court has overturned the decision. That's because a couple bordering states have more restrictive abortion laws that will now be in effect.

Tennessee, for example, is one state with a so-called "trigger law." Because of the ruling, that trigger law is now in effect and means abortions are now illegal in Tennessee.

South Carolina passed a law in 2021 that prohibits abortion in most cases if a "fetal heartbeat" is detected, or at about six weeks.

Conversely, at least eight states have moved to strengthen existing protections or expand abortion access this year: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.

Abortion battle coming to North Carolina

A number of organizations are stepping up, saying they will do whatever is necessary to keep abortion legal in the state.

"Make no mistake, this decision goes beyond abortion. This ruling is about power and control," ACLU of North Carolina Executive Director Chantal Stevens said. "The ability to make decisions about our own bodies, health and futures is a fundamental human right."

"This decision is truly dangerous and harmful," Equality NC Executive Director Kendra Johnson said.

Meanwhile, NC Values Coalition sees the Supreme Court ruling as a call to pass more restrictive abortion regulations.

"It's very important pro-life voters get out and vote this fall," Tami Fitzgerald said. "We need veto-proof majorities in the General Assembly, and we need a majority of pro-life justices on the state supreme court, so life is on the ballot."