Raleigh, N.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday struck down abortion protections that have been in place for nearly 50 years. The move frees up states to impose additional restrictions or prohibit the medical procedure entirely.
In North Carolina, key policy makers and party leaders differ on how the state should proceed. Democrats largely want to ensure women can continue to have access to abortion. Republicans, meanwhile, are seeking to implement a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If they gain supermajorities this year, retake control of the state Supreme Court or win a 2024 gubernatorial election, additional restrictions could become more likely.
Both political sides hope the issue will encourage voters to show up to the polls in the upcoming November election.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross, 2nd Congressional District: “This is a sad day for women all across our country, but the most important thing that women in North Carolina should know is that abortion is still legal in our state. We have the right to abortion up to 20 weeks in North Carolina, and we have a governor who will protect that right.
“But the other thing that women of North Carolina need to know is that we have elections in November, and their rights are on the ballot. If our legislature can overturn a veto, then their rights will be gone in an instant. It is in our hands to protect our rights and the rights of our sisters and our daughters.”
Republican State House Speaker Tim Moore: “Today’s decision from the United States Supreme Court is long overdue and a major win for protecting life! The end of Roe v. Wade rightfully returns authority back to the states to determine abortion law.
“While I remain unequivocally pro-life, the short budget adjustment session does not afford us sufficient time to take up the issue. However, North Carolinians can rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that current restrictions on the books will be enforced.
“North Carolinians can also expect pro-life protections to be a top priority of the legislature when we return to our normal legislative session in January.”
Republican State Senate Leader Phil Berger: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs returns policy decisions regarding abortion to the states, which is where those decisions should be made. I remain committed to the right to life and protecting the unborn.
“North Carolina’s law banning abortions after 20 weeks is currently unenforceable. We will take immediate action to ensure North Carolina’s late-term abortion ban is reinstated. Senate Republicans will determine whether other steps are appropriate to strengthen our pro-life laws, but I do not anticipate legislative action prior to adjournment.”
Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper: “For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions, but today that right has been tragically ripped away. That means it’s now up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina they still can.
“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.”
Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson: “I am overjoyed with the decision by our Supreme Court – for decades we have been praying for a day like today and it is finally here. I have experienced the pain of abortion in my own life and know the long-term effects it can have on families.
“That is a huge reason why I fight so hard for the life of the unborn. With this decision, our elected officials must act and protect our Justices from further attempts of intimidation and violence.
“This opinion gives control over abortion back to the states – where it rightfully belongs. However, here in North Carolina, this is cause for work, not celebration. Currently, in North Carolina, abortion is legal for any reason up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is unacceptable. With the Supreme Court’s decision to return authority over this issue to the states, it will now be our duty to carefully craft legislation that will safeguard the life and health of all our citizens, born and unborn.”
Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein: “I have a message for the women of North Carolina: You still have a legal right to an abortion in our state. North Carolina state law protects women’s reproductive freedoms. This is true even after the Supreme Court today stripped women of their right to an abortion under the Constitution by overturning Roe v. Wade.
“If we want to keep our freedoms under state law, then we have to elect state officials who commit to protecting them.”
NC Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley: “We will continue fighting from now through Election Day and beyond to ensure that we have pro-life majorities as we enter a post-Roe future.”
NC Democratic Party Chairwoman Bobbie Richardson: “Women have the right to make their own health care decisions without politicians getting in the way. This decision further emboldens Republicans to continue their harmful efforts to restrict reproductive rights, including U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Ted Budd who has made clear that he will ban abortion with no exceptions, not even for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. In 2022, it is critical that we elect Democrats who will stand up for our constitutional rights and who will focus on fighting for what North Carolinians need and want – not the agenda of extreme Washington politicians and corporate special interests.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a historic victory for the millions of Americans who believe that every life is precious and deserves protection. And it is a victory for the millions of unborn children who may now realize the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life.
“The Court’s ruling correctly empowers the people’s representatives in each state to decide how best to protect unborn lives. As a conscience-driven pro-life advocate, I will continue to support protections for unborn children everywhere.”
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley: “As a former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, I want to be clear: Our Constitution grants Americans the right to make decisions about their health care free from government interference.
“Today, for the first time in our history, the Supreme Court took away an individual constitutional right. I join people across the country in anger and fear at this moment for what the Supreme Court’s decision will mean for women, American families, and health care providers.
“This wrong and dangerous decision that overturns nearly 50 years of precedent shows exactly what’s at stake in this election and I will not hesitate to stand up for Americans’ freedom to make our own decisions about our own families.”