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Tricia Cotham Stabs Women in the Back as North Carolina Passes Abortion Ban

​Tricia Cotham

Tricia Cotham campaigned on protecting abortion rights and received one herself. Her switch to Republican gave the party a veto-overriding supermajority.

With their newfound supermajority, North Carolina Republicans have voted to override the governor's veto of a 12-week abortion ban.

North Carolina had become a haven state for those in surrounding Southern states seeking abortion. The NC House and Senate voted 72-48 and 30-20 respectively, falling along party lines. Chants of "Shame!" could be heard from the floor as the legislation passed.

Republicans gained a supermajority in the House after Representative Tricia Cotham switched parties from Democrat last month. Despite campaigning on protecting abortion rights and seeking endorsements from Planned Parenthood, Cotham's vote became the deciding factor.

Jonathan Coby, who advised Cotham’s campaigns, told Jezebel that the decision left both her staff and her constituents “deeply angry” and “heartbroken." Coby also said that Cotham had confided in him days before her switch, telling him "the Democrats don’t want me, and the Republicans have helped me out a lot."

“I wish I could say that she took a giant bag of cash at an IHOP and that’s why she did this — but it’s so much dumber than that,” he said. “It’s just a deeply petty, personal thing.”

According to Coby, after leaving her seat in 2016 and subsequently returning in 2022, Cotham expressed "entitlement" around her role, skipping endorsement meetings, freshman orientation, and caucus gatherings. She had received criticism from her colleagues for missing a vote that allowed Republicans to repeal gun permit laws.

She was recognized by the Republican House Speaker on International Women’s Day as the youngest woman ever elected to the State House, and expressed afterwards that she was unhappy with Democrats because they had not clapped for her. Local news networks have confirmed that the Democrats did applaud her.

Cotham was also upset that she did not receive an endorsement from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic — which oversees North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia — even saying that organization "really screwed" her. PPSA told Jezebel: “Rep. Cotham’s campaign scheduled numerous candidate interviews with our board (the board endorses candidates), but she did not attend any of the interviews."

Director of public affairs Jillian Riley added before the vote: “We hope that a person who has experienced an abortion would do everything they could to protect access to it. Rep. Cotham has one last chance to do that — to honor her personal experience and to stay true to her word.”

In a 2015 speech, Cotham opened up about receiving a medically necessary abortion after suffering a miscarriage. She stated: “If elected, I will continue to work hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood and allied groups to protect abortion rights and access and oppose anti-choice legislation."

Coby resigned from Cotham's staff in April, saying that her actions not only consisted of "real human betrayal of just using and discarding people," but also "a betrayal of who she has portrayed herself to be for her entire life.”

“It makes you wonder, did this person ever believe anything at all? ... The only thing that I can say for sure about Tricia Cotham from here on out is that she will always be the victim,” he said. “That is just who she believes herself to be, just a victim of life.”

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