North Carolina Republicans have put forth legislation that would ban abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The restrictions would allow exceptions for rape and incest up to 20 weeks, and exceptions for fetal anomalies through 24 weeks. There are also exceptions if the life of the mother is endangered.
The law would fine anyone who illegally prescribes or even advertises abortion medication to women with a fee of $5,000.
State Republicans met deliberated for months in closed-door meetings, with many pushing for a 6 week ban. In their press conference, the Republican women behind the bill said that the 12 week proposal was a “mainstream” approach, and that it would be appreciated by North Carolina residents.
Senator Dan Blue and Representative Robert Reives rebuked the notion that Republicans had compromised on the issue in a statement.
“Republican leadership has once again schemed behind closed doors and silenced the voices of both members of the public and members of the state legislature in order to force a harmful abortion ban down our throats,” they wrote. “North Carolinians believe in freedom, including the freedom to decide if and when to start a family.”
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has previously vetoed proposed abortion bans, but a veto from Cooper one this legislation could potentially be overridden. Last month, a House Democrat switched parties to Republican, giving the GOP a veto-proof supermajority. Cooper has said that he opposes the newest legislation, calling it "overreach" of government into healthcare.
“This proposal erodes even further the freedom of women and their doctors to make deeply personal health care decisions. I along with most North Carolinians are alarmed by the overreach of Republican politicians into people’s personal lives and I strongly oppose it,” he said in a statement.
Abortion in North Carolina is currently legal up to 20 weeks into pregnancy. The state has become a haven destination for women in surrounding southern states where the procedure is banned.
The ACLU of North Carolina has also spoken out against the bill, saying that “any ban on abortion is unacceptable,” and that abortion bans are “deeply unpopular” within the state.
“Don’t be fooled. This bill is neither moderate nor a compromise. The majority of North Carolinians do not support further restrictions on abortion access,” North Carolina ACLU Senior Policy Counsel Liz Barber said in a statement. “Lawmakers are ignoring the democratic process in order to push through unpopular legislation against the will of the people.”