Rep. Davis says he is still weighing ‘pros and cons’ ahead of key vote on abortion bill

WECT sits down with lawmaker Ted Davis to discuss NC's new sexual assault laws.
WECT sits down with lawmaker Ted Davis to discuss NC's new sexual assault laws.(WECT)
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 2:18 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Ahead of critical votes Tuesday on whether to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill limiting abortion, one Republican says he’s still “looking at the pros and cons.”

The House and Senate have scheduled votes Tuesday evening, in which they will need every Republican in each chamber to vote in favor of overriding the governor for the override to be successful.

Gov. Cooper has spent the last two weeks urging at least one Republican to vote to sustain his veto, citing statements some of them made during last year’s campaign about maintaining or even expanding abortion access.

Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) was the only Republican absent when the General Assembly passed the bill earlier this month and has not responded to questions about his position on the bill.

During a town hall event last year hosted by WHQR, WECT and Port City Daily, Rep. Davis was asked about potential abortion restrictions.

He said, “I support what the law is right now in North Carolina. And that is that a woman can have access to an abortion up to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.”

When CBS 17 asked Davis about the override vote Tuesday, he declined to say how he would vote.

“I’m still looking at the pros and cons,” he said.

As CBS 17 attempted to ask additional questions, he said, “Sir, please just back off and leave me alone.”

Following that exchange, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said he still believes the House will vote to override Gov. Cooper.

“I feel confident we’ll have the 72 votes on the override,” Speaker Moore said.

The bill in question would restrict abortion after 12 weeks while allowing exceptions after that point for rape, incest, protecting the mother’s life and fetal abnormalities. Republicans said it represents a compromise among members of the party, as some advocated for further restrictions and others wanted to leave the current law in place.

“I understand the governor going out and trying to make his case on it. But, I believe at the end of the day those members are gonna stick with their vote. I mean, this is a common-sense compromise position on this issue,” said Moore. “This is a tough issue for everybody. This has been an issue that’s been very divisive in our country for nearly a half a century.”

While abortion would remain legal up to 12 weeks, Democrats have criticized new regulations in the bill, including an additional in-person visit that would be required of patients, arguing it would have the effect of reducing access earlier than 12 weeks.

“I hope the people who have said on the campaign trail (that) we want to defend the ability for people to obtain abortion or reproductive healthcare and hopefully they’ve been introspective of that fact,” said Rep. Maria Cervania (D-Wake). “It’s been a very tense environment for everybody.”

The Senate will hold the first vote Tuesday on the override at 4 p.m. Speaker Moore said his chamber would not take the issue up until at least 8 p.m. to allow time for the debate and vote in the Senate.

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