The North Carolina Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s veto of a 12 week abortion banallowing it to become law in a new show of GOP power in the state.
The vast majority of the Republican Party voted to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the bill that includes exceptions for rape or incest and a “life-limiting anomaly” in the fetus.
The Senate voted 30-20 along party linesas does the House, which has a 72-48 Republican majority.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed the legislation on Saturday, keeping abortion legal in the state for up to 20 weeks. But House Speaker Tim Moore promised that the veto would be “quickly overridden”.
Last month, state Rep. Tricia Cotham joined the Republican Party after campaigning for and winning her House seat as a Democrat, giving Republicans a veto-proof majority.
Cooper had spent the past week locked in a lobbying campaign to encourage Republican lawmakers to break with his party and oppose the bill. in a video posted online, he named four Republican lawmakers who he said made campaign promises to protect abortion access.
“They say this is a reasonable 12-week ban,” Cooper said. “It is not. The fine print requirements and restrictions will close clinics and make abortion unavailable to many women at any time, causing despair and death.”
The bill’s three Republican cosponsors and the state Senate majority leader did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The 12-week abortion ban is a less restrictive threshold than other conservative legislatures have implemented. It includes exceptions for rape or incest and a “life-limiting abnormality” in the fetus.
But opponents say it would effectively restrict access to abortion in a state that has become a haven for women seeking the procedure. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June that struck down Roe v. Wade, North Carolina experienced a significant increase in the number of abortions performed, suggesting that women from neighboring states may have flocked to North Carolina to circumvent strict abortion bans, according to numbers compiled by the non-profit Family Planning Society.
The bill, now signed into law, would place new restrictions on access to abortion. It would require women to have an in-person medical visit at least 72 hours before undergoing a surgical abortion. Doctors should also make a real-time view of the fetus available to women and allow women seeking an abortion to hear their fetus’s heartbeat.
Democrats objected to the speed with which Republicans passed the bill, saying time was not provided for a full debate.
State Sen. Val Applewhite, a Democrat, said she had one night to read the bill before it was voted on in committee.
“I stayed up all night with my lights and pens trying to make queues,” Applewhite said. “It’s a lot to take in.”