RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As state lawmakers return to Raleigh to continue the legislative session, Republicans plan to try to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill restricting certain abortions in North Carolina.
Progress NC recently launched a digital ad campaign aimed at trying to block the passage of a second abortion-related bill as well.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have scheduled an override vote for July 21 of a bill that would ban abortions based on race or the diagnosis of Down syndrome.
When the House passed that bill in May, six Democrats joined with the Republicans to vote in favor of it. That would be enough to override Cooper’s veto. However, no Democrats in the Senate voted for the bill.
“These are private, painful moments that our state lawmakers have no business interfering with,” said Susanna Birdsong, North Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
Physicians would have to attest that the woman seeking the abortion did not cite race or Down syndrome as reasons. They could be liable for civil damages for violations.
The bill’s sponsors have compared the practice to eugenics.
“We believe that the abortion industry is worried because they realize that the members of the General Assembly who are pro-life and who are members of the Governor’s party are inclined to vote their conscience,” said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition. “We’re just trying to encourage those members to vote their conscience.”
When Cooper vetoed the bill late last month, he said it was unconstitutional and “it damages the doctor-patient relationship with an unprecedented government intrusion.”
The Senate also has passed a separate bill called the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” It’s similar to a bill Cooper vetoed two years ago and would require that physicians provide care for a baby that survives an attempted abortion.
The House has not voted on that bill yet.
When Cooper vetoed another version of it in 2019, he called the bill “needless” and said the existing law protects newborn babies.
“The reason behind this bill is to save actual lives,” said Fitzgerald.
Birdsong pointed to physicians’ licensing requirements, ethics, and standards of care.
She said the bill “could cause additional pain and suffering to families whose infant has severe health conditions and only hours or days to live by dictating the end-of-life care for babies who won’t survive.”