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N.C. General Assembly makes 12-week abortion restriction law, overriding Gov. Cooper's veto

North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore, left, confers with President Pro Tempore Phil Berger in the Senate chambers during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Updated 05/16/23, 9:13 p.m.: Gov. Cooper’s veto was overridden by both houses of the NCGA on Tuesday. The votes were along party lines — 30-20 in the Senate and 72-48 in the House.

S.B. 20 is now state law.

“I am proud that the House has overridden the Governor’s veto of this meaningful, mainstream legislation," House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland, Rutherford) said in a press release. "Senate Bill 20 will save lives and provide needed support for women and families while putting North Carolina’s abortion law in line with the most of rest of the free world."

Cooper, in a statement, said that North Carolinians now can see that state Republicans are "unified in their assault on women's reproductive freedoms."

"Strong majorities of North Carolinians don't want right-wing politicians in the exam room with women and their doctors, which is even more understandable today after several Republican lawmakers broke their promises to protect women's reproductive freedoms," Cooper said.


Updated 05/13/23, 12:24 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed the bill. It now heads back to the NCGA where a veto override is possible. 


A 12-week abortion ban bill has passed the N.C. House with a vote of 71-46. The N.C. Senate is expected to vote on it tomorrow.

N.C. General Assembly Republican leaders, including N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R- Cleveland, Rutherford) and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Guilford, Rockingham), announced a bill tonight that would ban abortion in North Carolina after 12 weeks.

Senate Bill 20, named the Care for Women, Children and Families Act, would provide exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly and danger to the life of the mother.

In cases of rape or incest, abortions would be prohibited after 20 weeks, while in cases of fetal anomaly they would be prohibited after 24 weeks. The bill does not impose a limit on abortion for cases where the mother's life is at risk.

North Carolina law currently prohibits abortion after 20 weeks— a decision made by a federal court last August following the the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision.

Berger described the bill as a common sense approach to restricting second and third trimester abortions, and addressing maternal and infant care at the press conference.

Republicans now have a supermajority in the N.C. General Assembly, following N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham's (R-Mecklenburg) recent  switch. 

“We have dealt with not only the issue of abortion, but also health care when it comes to mothers, health care when it comes to children and really tried to provide a comprehensive approach that is compassionate,” Moore said. 

Moore and Berger introduced the bill alongside multiple women Republican members of the General Assembly.

"We are pleased that the unborn will be recognized as having a fundamental right to be born. And mothers will get their own conditional support," N.C. Rep. Sarah Stevens (R-Surry, Wilkes) said at the press conference. 

The bill also includes funding for crisis pregnancy centers, adoption and foster care across the state. 

“This proposal erodes even further the freedom of women and their doctors to make deeply personal health care decisions,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet. “I along with most North Carolinians are alarmed by the overreach of Republican politicians into people’s personal lives and I strongly oppose it.”


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Walker Livingston

Walker Livingston is a 2023-24 assistant city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as summer city & state editor. Walker is a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and media and American studies, with a minor in data science.