RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – The votes by the North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 20 – the law that changes access to elective abortion from 20 weeks to 12 – drew quick and intense reaction from observers across the political spectrum.
Some of the reactions were transmitted virtually before the votes – party-line votes first in the Senate and then in the House – were announced.
Here is a sampling of that reaction.
Gov. Roy Cooper
“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 freedom.
“For the last two weeks, Republican sponsors of this abortion ban have strenuously argued that it is much less restrictive than we warned, so we will now do everything in our power to make sure that’s true.
“North Carolinians now understand that Republicans are unified in their assault on women’s reproductive freedom and we are energized to fight back on this and other critical issues facing our state. I will continue doing everything I can to protect abortion access in North Carolina because women’s lives depend on it.”
Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, Republican candidate for governor
“I am glad to see Republicans in the NC House and Senate stand strong and override the Governor’s veto. While North Carolina Democrats have continued to lie about the “Care for Women, Children and Families Act,” Republicans have taken a stand to create a culture of life in North Carolina. While protecting the lives of the unborn, this bill provides over $160 million in funding for childcare, foster care, parental leave, and so many other valuable services for the people of our state.”
Attorney General Josh Stein, Democratic candidate for governor
“Today will go down as a shameful loss of freedom in our state. But make no mistake — this is only the beginning. In 2024, we’re up against politicians like Mark Robinson who want to make abortion illegal for any reason even in cases of rape or incest. Over the next 16 months and next November, we must choose freedom and we must win elections.”
NC Treasurer Dale Folwell, Republican candidate for governor
“I have been pro-life with the three exceptions for my entire career. That is true yesterday, today and tomorrow. I respect the voice of the female legislators and others who worked on this bill and, if it landed on my desk as Governor, would sign it.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro)
“Today, North Carolina Republicans acted against the medical advice of over 1,500 North Carolina physicians to impose burdensome restrictions on abortion care and strip away women’s freedom to make private medical decisions.
“The vague and unnecessary restrictions will criminalize physicians and restrict their ability to offer timely medical care to their patients. The licensing restrictions for abortion care providers will force nearly half of the clinics in the state to shut down – limiting access to birth control, pap smears, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. It will also lead to physician and OB/GYN shortages, placing care for many women further out of reach.
“There can be no doubt this will harm women’s health. It will also have economic consequences; encouraging businesses to settle in neighboring states where arduous health care restrictions that limit employee recruitment and retention aren’t present.
“I’ll continue to fight to codify the right to abortion into federal law. I’m also preparing to reintroduce my Right to Contraception Act, legislation to codify the right for every American to access FDA-approved birth control methods. This is critical considering the North Carolina Senate included a measure in the budget released today that blocks state funding for birth control at any clinic that provides abortions.”
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland)
“I am proud that the House has overridden the governor’s veto of this meaningful, mainstream legislation. 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. Today the North Carolina House of Representatives has affirmed the value of human life, and I am proud that the ‘Care for Women, Children, and Families Act’ is now law.”
Sens. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), Lisa Barnes (R-Nash), Amy Galey (R-Alamance) and Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell)
“This is a monumental moment for women, children, and families in North Carolina. Our bill puts to rest all of the noise and lies we’ve been hearing this past week, and brings to life a culture that cherishes motherhood and saves the lives of the unborn.”
Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg)
“I understand that there are extremists on both sides of the abortion issue. Some of the absolutists believe abortion is unacceptable in any circumstance and some of the absolutists believe aborting a perfectly healthy child in the 40th week of pregnancy is morally acceptable. I cannot support either of these extreme positions.
“I – like most North Carolinians – think abortion is a complicated issue without absolute answers. Abortion is an unpleasant subject for many women, and I know of no woman that considered having an abortion that did so flippantly or unseriously. Despite what some people on the fringes may claim, contemplating an abortion is a grave decision, not a choice I’ve ever known anyone to celebrate.
“After extensive review, I believe this bill strikes a reasonable balance on the abortion issue and represents a middle ground that anyone not holding one of the two extremist positions can support.
“This legislation gives women continued access to elective abortions during the first trimester of a pregnancy in consultation with their doctor. This is the timeframe when most abortions occur. However, this bill ends elective late term abortions in North Carolina. While crucially providing exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormalities, and to protect the life of the mother. Women continue to be guaranteed unrestricted care in the event of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
“I insisted that any abortion legislation include meaningful support and protections to mothers and children to give them the best chance at a good life. This bill provides hundreds of millions of dollars in support for paid parental leave, maternal healthcare, foster care, contraception, and community college tuition and job placement supports to ensure that women and their children have choices, protections and pathways to success. Finally, this bill provides important protections to mothers and children by keeping weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers and ensuring sexual child predators have lifetime GPS monitoring and tracking.
“Some call me a hypocrite since I voted for this bill. They presume to know my story. As I said at the time, I had an ectopic pregnancy that sadly ended in miscarriage, not an elective abortion. In fact, Senate Bill 20 affirms the life-saving care I received in that dire situation. It was very important to me that this legislation protects all women going through a miscarriage or other complications – and it most certainly does.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
“Today, Republican state legislators in North Carolina overturned Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a dangerous bill that is out of touch with the majority of North Carolinians and will make it even more difficult for women to get the reproductive health care they need.
“We’ve already seen the devastating impacts that state abortion bans have had on the health and lives of Americans living under these draconian laws. In the more than a dozen states with bans, women have been turned away from emergency rooms, left with no choice but to travel hundreds of miles for the care they need, and faced complications that put their lives and health at risk. Like those laws, the North Carolina ban will harm patients and threaten doctors for providing essential care.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to work alongside Governor Cooper, state legislators, and Americans who are fighting to protect access to reproductive health care in the face of relentless attacks, and will continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe for all people in every state.”
NC Democratic Chair Anderson Clayton
Today, Republicans have sent a message to North Carolinians that they don’t trust them to make their own health care decisions. SB20 is dangerous legislation that puts politicians in the middle of deeply personal health care decisions and abandons the medical advice of doctors who urged lawmakers to stop this ban. It will have devastating impacts on abortion access, putting up medically unnecessary barriers to reproductive care and for many – it may impact their access altogether.
“It is shameful to see Republican members John Bradford, Tricia Cotham, Ted Davis, and Michael Lee flip-flop and betray their constituents to toe the party line. In 2024, North Carolina Democrats will ensure every voter knows where their leaders stand on this issue and will continue to fight to elect candidates that stand up for reproductive freedom in North Carolina.”
NC Republican Chair Michael Whatley
“The voters of North Carolina have rejected the radical abortion-on-demand position of Roy Cooper, Josh Stein, and the Democrat Party. I commend our Republican-led General Assembly for overriding Gov. Cooper’s veto of this balanced and widely-supported legislation and moving forward to protect life in North Carolina.”
ACLU of NC Senior Policy Counsel Liz Barber
“This is a devastating loss for the fundamental rights of North Carolinians. This abortion ban is life-threatening. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth against their will is a human rights violation of the highest order. Now, we must hold those politicians accountable who prioritized their own interests over the will of the people.”
SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser
“The battleground state of North Carolina has taken a major step forward in the fight for life. By defying Gov. Cooper’s bully tactics and standing for the will of the people, the General Assembly modeled great courage on the issue of life. Elected officials and candidates across this country should take note how pro-life leaders stood up to the extreme abortion agenda of the Democrats to protect life and serve mothers. North Carolinians reject elective painful, late-term abortion and Americans feel the same. According to multiple polls, around two-thirds of Americans want to limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy.. Americans value protecting babies in the womb who feel pain, suck their thumbs, make facial expressions and smile.
“We thank legislators for making this a historic day in North Carolina. We are grateful to SBA National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus member Sen. Krawiec, Speaker Moore, Senate Leader Berger and every legislator who voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s heartless veto. Today, the General Assembly has shown courage in compassionately protecting life and serving mothers while Gov. Cooper, Attorney General Stein and Democrats attempted to sanction painful late-term abortion through lies and threats.”
DLCC President Heather Williams
“The Republican Party has proven that they will not stop until every American loses their reproductive freedom – and the North Carolina GOP has shown that once again, Republicans cannot be trusted with our rights. The DLCC is targeting North Carolina this cycle to break the supermajority – because it is more clear than ever that the frontlines of the fight for our most fundamental freedoms are in state legislatures.
“This move by North Carolina’s Republican supermajority will impact access to abortion for over 10 million people in the state and will have ripple effects across the region and the country. State Democrats everywhere are fighting back against this extreme agenda, and Republicans will pay for their attacks on our freedoms at the ballot box — just like they did last cycle. The DLCC will be there every step of the way to hold Republicans accountable and take back America’s statehouses in 2024 to build power for years to come.”
Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson
“We’re deeply disturbed and enraged by the passing of SB 20 into law. The government should never force a person to carry a pregnancy or give birth against their will. A person’s health, not politicians, should guide important medical decisions at all stages of pregnancy. And we know that the harms of this legislation are only going to be magnified for those living at the intersection of marginalized identities.”
William J. Barber II
“These extremist lawmakers’ attacks on women’s rights are undermined by their own inconsistency and hypocrisy. Rather than uplifting North Carolinians, they’re choosing to suppress the possibilities of the lives of poor and low-income women and men across the state. These same legislators who have voted to override the Governor’s veto on the abortion ban are the same ones who vote against living wages, safety from gun violence, health care, education, and voting rights. This is what hypocrisy looks like.
“Extremists try to couch their positions as being biblical but the scripture makes clear that the concerns of these politicians should be about uplifting the hungry, the poor, the sick and imprisoned. Even our constitution makes it clear that the first duty of the Government is to protect its most vulnerable citizens. Once again these extremists aren’t even maintaining their commitment to uphold the constitution.
“If North Carolina’s lawmakers were really concerned about life, they would declare a state of emergency because poverty, the fourth leading cause of death in this nation, is an epidemic in North Carolina. These lawmakers have an opportunity to choose life by raising the state minimum wage, subsidizing child care and family leave, funding public education and addressing gun violence instead of enacting dangerous legislation that puts poor and low-income people’s lives in jeopardy. If they continue to override our calls for life-saving legislation, we will override their power when we get to the polls at the next election.”