NC Gov. Cooper on 12-week abortion ban: ‘I will never ever give up fighting’

NORTH CAROLINA — Starting July 1, abortion access will be limited in North Carolina, which has a major impact on the Southeast.

The state’s Republican-led legislature voted to override the governor’s veto, banning most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. But the law will do much more than that.


Less than 24 hours after the abortion bill became law, Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis got a chance to ask Gov. Roy Cooper about the next direction the state takes from here.

“I will never ever give up fighting for women’s health in North Carolina,” Cooper said.

While visiting the North Wilkesboro racetrack for NASCAR All-Star weekend, which is getting national attention in the racing world, Cooper addressed the abortion law, which is also in the national spotlight.

The law bans most abortions after 12 weeks; at 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest, and 24 weeks if the fetus can’t live outside the womb. There’s no restriction if the woman’s life is at risk.

Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County cast one of the deciding votes in support of the bill. She previously had said she would protect women’s rights to choose.

Cotham said in a statement that she believes the bill strikes a reasonable balance on the abortion issue and represents a middle ground. Groups against abortion, like NC Values, applaud the bill for providing $160 million to help pregnant mothers, including money for child care, foster care, and to reduce infant and maternal mortality. But they also suggest the bill doesn’t go far enough on banning abortions.

Curtis asked the governor what next steps he plans to take.

“There were a lot of arguments being made that the legislation was less restrictive than we had warned, so we are going to work very hard to make sure those arguments come true,” Cooper said.

Cooper also addressed concerns that the law could stop businesses or events from coming to the state, as we saw with the bathroom bill.

“I believe this is going to be a destination state for businesses and that will continue,” Cooper said.

Until now, the Carolinas have been two of the few remaining southern states with relatively easy access to abortions. In South Carolina, the House is expected to take a final vote soon on a bill that bans most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks of pregnancy. It includes exceptions for fatal anomalies and for rape and incest through 12 weeks.

Right now, abortions are allowed through 22 weeks in the state.

The bill will still need to clear the South Carolina Senate again before reaching the governor’s desk.

Florida bans abortions at 15 weeks, but a recent law would tighten that to six weeks, pending a court ruling. That leaves Virginia as the last southern state for women seeking abortions. There, it’s restricted after the second trimester.

(PREVIOUS: North Carolina GOP overrides veto of 12-week abortion limit, allowing it to become law)