North Carolina Governor Signs Order To Continue Enabling Abortion Access
Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, signed an executive order on July 6 to continue enabling access to abortion in the state and shield people criminally charged with performing the procedure from being extradited to other states.
The Democrat noted that the executive order is “not intended to change and does not change North Carolina law, but rather ensures that North Carolinians are afforded the protections and rights provided under North Carolina law.”
His action comes after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 struck down Roe v. Wade in a case involving an abortion law in Mississippi. Roe v. Wade had largely enabled abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy across the United States for nearly 50 years. The overturning of Roe returns regulation of the procedure back to the states.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, also signed an executive order similar to Cooper’s on July 6. Other Democratic governors, including for Maine and Rhode Island, on July 5 made similar moves to shield patients and providers of abortions from penalties. Over in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a similar executive order on the day Roe v. Wade was overturned.
In North Carolina, abortions are legal until fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. An abortion can be still performed after that in the case of a medical emergency, to protect the life or health of the mother. Abortions done for the purpose of sex selection are prohibited.
People who opt to have an abortion must receive information designed to dissuade them from moving forward with the procedure and wait 72 hours before the abortion is provided. They also must undergo an ultrasound before the abortion.
Cooper’s executive order (pdf) states that people who provide or receive “reproductive health care services that are legal” in North Carolina will not be imposed civil or criminal penalties by the Cabinet agencies or people under the governor’s office.
“Reproductive health care services” is defined in the document as including abortions.
Protect Against Extraditions
Cooper’s order states that Cabinet agencies shall coordinate to “protect people or entities who are providing, assisting, seeking, or obtaining lawful reproductive health care services in North Carolina.” The order also directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to work with law enforcement to prohibit anyone from blocking access to a health care facility, per state law.
Cabinet agencies are also barred from requiring a pregnant state employee to travel to a state “that has imposed restrictions on access to reproductive health care services if those restrictions do not include an exception for the health of the pregnant Cabinet Agency employee satisfactory to that employee.”
It also says that the Cabinet agencies will not help with “any investigation or proceeding that seeks to impose civil or criminal liability or professional sanction upon a person or entity for” providing or receiving reproductive health care services that are legal in North Carolina.
While North Carolina law states that it is the governor’s “duty” to arrest and deliver any person charged in another state “with treason, felony or other crime, who has fled from justice and is found in this state,” Cooper’s executive order says the governor can “exercise his discretion to decline requests” to extradite anyone charged with a criminal violation in another state over carrying out or receiving “reproductive health care services that are lawful in North Carolina.”
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