Tonight anti-abortion lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly released the 12-week abortion ban they have been vowing to enact. Despite the legislature’s own bill filing rules, this bill was released with little notice and no transparency, as legislative leadership crafted this harmful bill behind closed doors and with no opportunity for public comment.
Anti-abortion, anti-democracy politicians arbitrarily decided on a 12-week ban, knowing they had to introduce something to appeal to their anti-abortion base ahead of the 2024 elections. Their continued disingenuous political spin that a 12-week ban is “not extreme” again shows that this attack on reproductive health care is all about consolidating power in 2024; the patients who will be impacted and harmed by this bill are an afterthought, if they were thought of at all.
Best medical practices, patient experiences, the input of healthcare professionals, and the will of the majority of North Carolinians who do not want changes to our state’s abortion laws did not even enter into the equation. This arbitrary, medically unnecessary ban is politics at its most cynical.
North Carolina, even prior to the Dobbs decision, has long been a state where people from around the southeast accessed abortion safely and with dignity, despite our numerous restrictions. This bill impacts not just patients in our state, but also around the region. This is no way to provide any kind of healthcare, including abortion.
It has been nearly a year since the Dobbs decision, and in that time 13 states have enacted near total bans, many more states have further restricted abortion access, and other states are introducing more and more extreme bans and restrictions. These political, arbitrary, and medically unnecessary bans and restrictions are causing chaos in healthcare systems around the country, with dangerous impacts reverberating beyond reproductive health care. There is no reason to believe that patient and provider confusion, substandard care, and even denial of emergency care won’t happen here.
Abortion is healthcare and abortion care is a part of maternal care. It’s time our elected officials started treating it as that, rather than as a cynical political tool that can be traded away to score points for elections. We urge our elected officials at the North Carolina General Assembly to prioritize the healthcare needs of residents, not further ban abortion.