Two bills that would make Roe v. Wade protections state law were introduced by legislators in the North Carolina House and Senate on Thursday.
The bills (S.B. 888 and H.B. 1119) would protect abortion rights in North Carolina even if landmark case Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court later this summer, which is expected with the court’s conservative majority.
The Senate bill, if approved, would codify the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, preventing an outright ban on abortion. It would also give North Carolina courts legal precedent to strike down laws that create arbitrary restrictions and undue burdens on abortion.
The bill was sponsored by Sens. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake), Natalie Murdock (D-Durham), and Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg).
So far, it has been co-sponsored by legislators including Sens. Valerie Foushee (D-Orange) and Wiley Nickel (D-Wake), who are each running for election to U.S. Congress in November.
Sens. Sydney Batch (D-Wake) and Mike Woodard (D-Durham) also co-sponsored the bill.
House Bill 1119 goes a step further, removing many existing barriers to abortion including the bans on insurance coverage and on prescribing medical abortions via telehealthcare. The bill would also make it illegal to require pregnant people to undergo biased anti-abortion counseling or receive an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
“This bill will not just guarantee that people can legally access abortion in our state, but also remove many of the medically unnecessary and ideological barriers to care that have existed for far too long,” Tara Romano, executive director of Pro-Choice NC, wrote in a news release.
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Julie Von Haefen (D-Wake), Marcia Morey (D-Durham), and Carla Cunninghame (D-Mecklenburg). It’s co-sponsored by 20 other legislators, including Reps. Rosa Gill (D-Wake) and Joe John (D-Wake) who are running for re-election this fall.
Reps. Cynthia Ball (D-Wake), Allison Dahle (D-Wake), and Robert Reives II (D-Durham) also co-sponsored the bill.
Pro-Choice NC is calling on North Carolinians to talk to their own legislators and ask them to also sign on as co-sponsors to the bill. Senators have until noon Tuesday to sign on, while Representatives have until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“Elected officials must protect our communities here and in surrounding states,” Romano said in the news release. “We must codify these protections and expand people’s ability to get the abortion care we need, when we need it and in the communities where we live. Join us in calling on our legislators to co-sponsor these critical bills.”
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