Abortions are no longer legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in North Carolina, with exceptions for medical emergencies, according to a federal court ruling on Wednesday.
In the Bryant v. Woodall ruling, United States District Judge William Osteen reinforced a 1973 state law that banned abortion in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
"Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court," the order said.
Because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Center, which overturned Roe v. Wade, the court ruled that there was no longer any foundation for the 2019 ruling that placed an injunction on the 1973 law – despite the North Carolina Department of Justice announcing it would not move to lift the injunction in July.
"This court will vacate its injunction because it was based on Supreme Court precedent that has since been reversed," the order said.
Furthermore, Osteen rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a 24-hour delay to lift the injunction.
The plaintiffs, which included doctors and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, asked for the stay because the procedure required to perform certain abortions safely after the 20th week of pregnancy takes two days.
"All parties in this case have undoubtedly been aware of Dobbs since it was decided nearly two months ago,” Osteen said in the order. “From that moment, the only reasonable conclusion to draw regarding this court’s injunction was that it was patently contrary to the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court."
The ruling may affect the issues that drive North Carolinians to the polls in the midterm election this November.