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How the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade could impact North Carolina law

According to political experts, it’s highly unlikely abortion rights will change in North Carolina, at least in the near future.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A leaked draft majority opinion showing The Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, has North Carolinians wondering how it would impact our state.

According to political experts, it’s unlikely the right to an abortion would go away in North Carolina, at least in the near future.

Up to 100 women go to A Preferred Women’s Health Center of Charlotte each week for abortion care.

SC lawmakers ‘cautiously optimistic’ after potential Roe v. Wade overturn as Fetal Heartbeat Bill sits in courts

“We’ve had patients today and staff members asking just to clarify, hey does this impact us?” Calla Hales, the Executive Director of Preferred Women’s Health Centers, told WBTV. “Can we still come to our appointment? The answer is yes, you can still come to your appointment.”

Even if the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion changes the law, North Carolina Democrat Governor Cooper has veto power over changes.

Governor Cooper tweeted Tuesday: “Now more than ever, governors and state legislatures must stand up for women’s healthcare. We know the stakes and must stand firm to protect a woman’s choice and access to medical care.”

Mecklenburg County republican strategist and attorney Larry Shaheen told WBTV the governor’s stance on this issue will mean abortions would remain legal while he is in leadership.

“For the next two years he’s going to wield that veto power and unless there’s a majority that’s large enough to be able to override his veto in the General Assembly, which is possible but doesn’t look very likely, there’s unlikely to be any changes in this,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen says when legislators convene Wednesday, republicans may try to introduce legislation but it would not pass.

He did say it’s possible that a ban on most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy could get reinstated.

In July 2021 a federal appeals court struck down a North Carolina law that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Shaheen says in future elections, the issue of abortion rights will be up to voters.

“Returning this issue to the states would make it more of a campaign issue,” he said. “My suggestion is to go get involved in your state legislature and make sure your voice is heard with your state legislator.”

While most abortions would likely remain legal locally, that’s not the case for all surrounding states, which could lead women to travel to North Carolina for abortions.

“I do expect that people will try to travel if they can,” Hales said. “I would expect some, I don’t know if I would expect a radical surge of all patients coming to North Carolina, just because I don’t know if that’s feasible or possible for a lot of these patients.”

Protests in Charlotte

Protests were held at the Charlotte government center as well on Tuesday night. There were pro-choice supporters just as there are nationwide.

Both sides are wanting to be heard.

“My biggest concern is that I may have to do something very scary if I’m ever put in the situation of needing an abortion. I’m also terrified that this is just the first of many things that might be revoked,” pro-choice supporter Pia Campbell said.

“Anything that we can do to decrease the number of abortions that take place is ultimately a good thing,” pro-life supporter Ben Minton said. “Every step we can take to save a life is a big deal.”

The chance of a major law reversal is one that affects many.

“I think I should be able to do with my body whatever I want to do,” pro-choice supporter Tina Marshall said. “And that goes for anybody, whether it’s abortion or anything else.”

Iould soon change legislation that’s stood for nearly half a century.

“When you talk about ending the life of somebody that can’t defend themselves, that’s a pretty profound position to have,” pro-life supporter Michael Harvey said. “To argue the measure without having the empathy to see that, there’ll never be anything actually accomplished there.”

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