Judge reinstates North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban

Generic photo of what a doctor's office where an abortion takes place would look like
Generic photo of what a doctor's office where an abortion takes place would look like(New Voices / Flickr / MGN)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - A federal judge has ruled that abortions are no longer legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in North Carolina.

U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated the abortion ban Wednesday after he said the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade erased the legal foundation for his 2019 ruling that placed an injunction on the 1973 state law.

The ruling erodes protections in one of the South’s few remaining safe havens for reproductive freedom.

His decision defies the recommendations of all named parties in the 2019 case, including doctors, district attorneys and the attorney general’s office, who earlier this week filed briefs requesting he let the injunction stand.

“Although I disagree with this ruling, the vast majority of patients will still be able to access reproductive health care in North Carolina, and I remain committed to protecting it,” Gov. Roy Cooper says.

“The significant problem with this ruling is that it will criminalize important health care that’s needed in certain extraordinary circumstances. Abortion past 20 weeks in pregnancy is exceptionally rare and happens because of a devastating health emergency or diagnosis. Denying women necessary medical care in extreme and threatening situations, even if rare, is fundamentally wrong, and we cannot let politicians mislead people about the real world implications of this harmful law.”

Gov. Roy Cooper

House Speaker Tim Moore said: “Today a federal judge ruled that the injunction on North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban is ‘patently contrary to the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court’ and should be lifted. I am encouraged that, although our attorney general has failed to do his duty, today we have a ruling that upholds the law.”

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