Abortion Ban Becomes Law in N.C. After Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto
For Immediate Release: May 16, 2023
Ban on abortion after 12 weeks, other restrictions will go into effect July 1, 2023
RALEIGH — Today, the N.C. Senate and House voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 20, a sweeping bill that will ban abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy in nearly all circumstances and impose an array of other restrictions that will severely limit abortion access across the board. The ban on abortion as well as the multitude of new restrictions on this care will go into effect on July 1, 2023. Other parts of the omnibus bill, including any potential new regulations on clinics, will go into effect after October 1.
Abortion bans are harming pregnancy care across the country. Since Roe was overturned, OBGYNs have seen increased morbidity, increased delays in care, and a worsening of pregnancy complications among their patients. Patients in states where abortion is banned are reportedly receiving substandard care for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and even cancer treatment as providers are forced to seek legal advice before providing care and restrictive laws like Senate Bill 20 create uncertainty in the health care system.
“Not only do the actions of our lawmakers make me angry, but they also scare me,” said Dr. Katherine Farris, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “This monster abortion ban is bad medicine — it’s full of medically unnecessary and dangerous restrictions on abortion care that go against medical best practices. Treating my patients should not be seen as an act of civil disobedience. A person’s health, not politicians, should guide important medical decisions at all stages of pregnancy.”
“This monster abortion ban puts politicians in control of another person’s body and blocks them from the health care they need,” said Jenny Black, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “What’s more, lawmakers are betraying their constituents and knowingly putting North Carolinians in danger by ramming this bill through in just two weeks. This dangerous bill is part of a nationwide effort to completely ban abortion in every state across the country, so we know North Carolina anti-abortion politicians won’t stop here. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic has served North Carolinians for decades and we will continue to do just that. While we have a long fight ahead, our doors remain open and we are here to provide compassionate and judgment-free health care in communities across the state.”
“For nearly a year, we have been in a public health crisis that has left over one in three American women without control of their reproductive lives,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Today’s vote will have devastating consequences across North Carolina, and for the thousands of patients in the region who’ve relied on the state as a key access point for abortion. This ban, like all abortion bans, will harm people who have the right to make their own decisions based on what is best for themselves, their lives, their families, and their futures. No one should be forced to travel out of state to access abortion care. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy that they do not want, or that is dangerous to their health. And yet, today that is what the North Carolina legislature is forcing them to do. Planned Parenthood will continue fighting for everyone’s ability to access the health care they need and deserve — no matter what.”
There is mounting evidence that abortion bans lead to higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. According to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, states that have enacted abortion bans this year experienced a 10.5 percent decrease in OBGYN resident applications.
Because of this ban, most people who need abortion care after 12 weeks of pregnancy will be forced to travel out of state, if they have the means, self-manage their abortion outside of the health care system, or carry a pregnancy against their will. Any abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy must be provided in a hospital, which will result in more expensive health care for the patient.
Senate Bill 20 also adds a multitude of new measures that will restrict access to abortion across the board, including:
- Makes it harder to get a medication abortion — the most common form of abortion in the state — by:
- Preventing abortion providers from providing medication abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy, cutting access to care by one week (from 11 to 10 weeks).
- Requiring patients to have at least 2 and potentially 3 in-person visits for a medication abortion, which will be a significant and potentially insurmountable barrier for many patients. This change is contrary to FDA guidelines that allow medication abortions to be prescribed via telehealth.
- Authorizes the imposition of new, medically unnecessary clinic facility rules that could be impossible for certain clinics to comply with and have a devastating impact on access to care.
- Forces patients to listen to state-mandated, non-scientific, anti-abortion counseling and creates more paperwork for the patient, neither of which have any medical benefit.
- Requires physicians to perform an ultrasound on the patient and simultaneously describe the image to the patient, a measure previously passed by the North Carolina General Assembly that has been permanently blocked by the courts.
- Creates myriad new reporting requirements that could compromise patient confidentiality and provider safety.
For more than 100 years, people have relied on Planned Parenthood for accessible and affordable quality health care, accurate information, and comprehensive health education. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) is a nonprofit healthcare provider offering a wide range of affordable and reliable reproductive and sexual health services in our 14 locations across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.