The Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, announced on June 24, 2022, that Roe v. Wade and 50 years of recognizing abortion as a constitutional right was overturned. The case in question, Dobbs, was concerned with a law enacted in 2018 by the Republican-heavy Mississippi legislature which banned abortions if, “the probable gestational age of the unborn human” was determined to be more than 15 weeks. The statute was engineered to be a challenge to Roe and only included narrow exceptions for medical emergencies or “a severe fatal abnormality.”
Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in the state, claimed that the statute breached Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, landmark cases in the history of the Supreme Court. Roe protected abortions, no matter the reason, whereas the Mississippi statute banned abortions outright with a few vague medical exceptions not clearly defined.
What does all this mean for North Carolina? Currently, abortion is legal and protected in North Carolina. However, the number of freestanding abortion clinics in North Carolina has declined through the years. There were 114 facilities in 1986, with this number down to 26 facilities in 2017.
North Carolina does have some restrictions on abortion:
1. Patients must receive state-directed counseling either in person or over the phone at least 72 hours before their abortion procedure.
2. Patients are required to have ultrasounds before the abortion is performed.
3. Sex-selective abortion is prohibited.
4. Health insurance coverage for abortion is prohibited for plans that are a part of the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
5. Abortions after 20 weeks are required to be provided in a licensed hospital rather than an abortion clinic.
6. Parental consent is required for minors under the age of 18 seeking abortions.
From 1967-2019, North Carolina banned abortions performed after the 20-week gestation period. U.S. District Judge William Osteen formally struck down this “life of the mother only” 20-week abortion ban on March 25 of 2019.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina stated on June 24, 2022, shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs had been announced. In his statement, Gov. Cooper demeaned the decision, stating, “that [constitutional] right has been tragically ripped away…I will continue to trust women to make their own medical decisions as we fight to keep politicians out of the doctor’s exam room.” Numerous other state politicians, such as State Senator, Thom Tillis, released statements in support of the decision.
Essentially, the news is that abortions are no longer considered a constitutional right with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This does not mean, however, that abortions are banned in North Carolina. On the contrary, the decision to legalize abortions is left up to each state. In North Carolina, Gov. Cooper has made it clear that he intends to keep abortions legal and protected.
King Law Offices is a trusted legal resource, which can provide guidance on reproductive rights and related issues. You can reach out to us at 888-748-KING (5464) for assistance and consultation.