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North Carolina: ban on abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy goes into effect

A temporary restraining order postponed the implementation of part of the law. Planned Parenthood, which filed the lawsuit, stressed that it had reached an agreement to avoid penalties for those who help North Carolinians get abortions in other states.

Pareja mostrando una ecografía.

Pareja mostrando una ecografía.

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After two months of going back and forth, the law restricting abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy has gone into effect in North Carolina. As of this Saturday, the previous limit was reduced by eight weeks.

One of the provisions of the law will be suspended by a temporary restraining order issued last Friday by a district judge. So, at least until July 14, physicians prescribing abortion drugs will not be required to record the pregnancy in the patient's medical record.

The 12-week limit for victims of sexual assault also did not go into effect, although it will as of October 1.

Orden de restricción tempo... by Santiago Adolfo Ospital

Travel to other states for abortion

"North Carolinians will be forced to endure medically unnecessary restrictions that make it harder to get the health care they need," said Jenny Black, president of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

The organization filed a lawsuit against the law, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In a press release Friday, Planned Parenthood stressed that women can still go out-of-state for an abortion:

As part of this litigation, plaintiffs and defendants also came to an agreement that people, including health care providers, can help patients obtain legal abortions out of state.

The judge acknowledged the possibility of getting an abortion out of state in his court decision at the end of last week. He even clarified that helping someone get an abortion out of state will not incur penalties in North Carolina:

The Court construes this provision as amended to not impose civil, criminal, or professional liability on an individual who advises, procures, causes, or otherwise assists someone in obtaining a lawful out-of-state abortion.

The disparity between state laws regulating abortion in the wake of the overturning of Roe vs. Wade has resulted in increased travel for abortions to states with more permissive regulations. Other states, such as Minnesota, are experiencing a rise in abortions from women who live out of state.

A bumpy road

The North Carolina House and Senate passed the bill in just two days in early May.

As predicted, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill. "It will make abortion inaccessible to many women, particularly those with lower incomes, those living in rural areas, and those who already have limited access to health care," Cooper said at the time.

However, the Republican-majority Congress later overrode the veto. Planned Parenthood and ACLU filed a motion in court. Despite this, most of the law still went into effect.