North Carolina Governor Signs Order to Continue Enabling Abortion Access

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaks to the crowd during an election night event in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 17, 2022. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

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.

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