Health care providers in North Carolina are suing the state over parts of its recent abortion ban that they say are unconstitutional.
Brought by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of providers, the suit challenges a law set to go into effect July 1 that bans abortions in the state after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion was previously permitted in the state until up to 20 weeks.
According to the lawsuit, the state's Senate Bill 20 contains unclear language, as well as several contradictions within itself. Plaintiffs note that the bill was introduced and passed within less than 72 hours — shorter than the mandatory waiting period for an abortion in North Carolina.
“Likely as a result of this hurried process, S.B. 20 has injected requirements that are unintelligible, inherently contradictory, irrational, and/or otherwise unconstitutional into every part of the abortion process,” the suit reads.
One such example is a provision that appears to prevent providers from prescribing medication abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy, despite another provision explicitly stating medication abortion is lawful through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Another provision would prevent providers from recommending places where abortion can be legally provided after 12 weeks, which the suit says is a violation of the First Amendment.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper previously vetoed Senate Bill 20, but was overridden by Republicans in the state House of Representatives. The GOP recently gained a supermajority when Tricia Cotham switched from Democrat to Republican, subsequently betraying those who voted for her, as she ran on promises to protect abortion rights.
While the plaintiffs recognize that the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade does not guarantee a national right to abortion, they argue that North Carolina's rules are unconstitutional as they are "impossible to comply with."
“The Supreme Court’s decision did not insulate abortion restrictions from court review if, as here, those restrictions are vague, impossible to comply with, irrational, inflict a high risk of suffering and death for no legitimate governmental purpose, and potentially violate the First Amendment," it reads.