RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With a decision expected from the U.S. Supreme Court at any time, North Carolina Democrats pushed on Wednesday to pass a bill that would codify the Roe v. Wade decision into state law.
A Supreme Court draft opinion published last month by Politico shows the court is poised to overturn that decision from 1973, which established a constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
“If this constitutional right for millions of women to control their own family planning and healthcare and family planning disappears overnight, what’s next in the Supreme Court’s crosshairs? The right to contraception? Same-sex marriage?” asked Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham County).
A bill Democrats in the state House of Representatives have filed would block restrictions and prohibitions on abortion up to the point of fetal viability.
If the Supreme Court does indeed overturn Roe v. Wade, it would give states more authority to implement restrictions on abortion.
Republican state legislative leaders have not said specifically what legislation they would pursue. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said the legislature won’t address the issue this year, noting Gov. Roy Cooper (D) would veto any new restrictions they would seek to implement.
“It’s all political theater to file a bill like this in the short session,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition. “It shows the hand of what Democrats would do if they stay in office. They want to codify Roe. They want to make abortion legal for any reason up to viability.”
Iliana Santillan, executive director of El Pueblo, spoke about her decision to have an abortion when she was younger.
“I don’t regret having my abortion,” she said. “The traumatic experience wasn’t having my abortion, it was all the (expletive) from people that I had to deal with about it after.”
She has a teenage daughter who knows about her decision and said her daughter is also concerned about what the Supreme Court may do.
“Her words were, ‘Why are we going backward?’ We should be moving toward a better society and it just feels like our rights are under attack,” she said.
Democrats say the issue will be among the key ones they focus on in the leadup to this year’s election. Every seat in the General Assembly is on the ballot in addition to two seats on the state Supreme Court. While Republicans control the legislature, Democrats have a majority on the court.