A Win for Life in North Carolina

May 18, 2023

This week the North Carolina legislature overrode their governor’s veto of SB-20, the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act, which restricts abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy with some limited exceptions and restricts the prescribing and mailing of abortion drugs. Prior to the law’s passage, North Carolina allowed abortions up to 20 weeks. This is a major win for the pro-life movement in the post-Dobbs fight to defend life at the state level.

The road to achieving this positive step in the right direction was not an easy one. The two chambers of the North Carolina Legislature spent months debating how to proceed after Dobbs, eventually passing SB-20 at the beginning of May and setting up a fight with Governor Roy Cooper over the measure. The abortion industry activated their dark money machine to stop all pro-life legislation and allow abortion-on-demand.  Governor Cooper, a pro-abortion Democrat, and his allies paid for ads targeting moderate members of the coalition that voted for SB-20, trying to bully them to change their vote before the veto-override effort. Shockingly, Cooper even held a rally on Mother’s Day weekend, where he vetoed SB-20, even though it had passed the North Carolina House and Senate with large majorities.

When we heard of Governor Cooper’s plans, ACLJ Action and our partners in the pro-life movement helped turn out a counter rally in support of the state legislators who took a stand in defense of the unborn. Pro-life grassroots activists turned out and stood behind their state legislators, making it clear that we will not allow the cult of death to bully and intimidate the legislators taking a stand for life.

In the end, our efforts were successful.  Both houses overrode the governor’s veto, making the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act the law across the state of North Carolina, and saving countless lives moving forward.

Background on SB-20, the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act

SB-20 prohibits surgical abortions after 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape and incest through 20 weeks, and in the event of a life-limiting anomaly through 24 weeks. It also provides $160 million in support for children, mothers, and families.

Importantly, SB-20 does not include provisions allowing for late-term abortions due to psychological or emotional conditions. Such provisions would provide a loophole to the abortion industry to essentially invalidate the restrictions passed by the legislature.

The Act requires that prior to a physician prescribing an abortion-inducing drug, they must first physically examine the mother and calculate the gestational age of the baby.  The law also prohibits these medications from being shipped via mail.

Additionally, SB-20 allows health care providers to conscientiously object to performing the procedure.

Finally, SB-20 requires that the Department of Health and Human Services to inspect any clinic where abortions are performed.