North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed an abortion ban passed by the Republican-led state legislature. The bill banned abortions past 12 weeks, with some exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect the life and health of the mother.
The veto of Mr. Cooper, a Democrat, sets him up for a showdown with the Legislature, which now has an overwhelming Republican majority. This means that if a party can gather enough votes, it has the power to override its veto and ban.
Hundreds gathered in Raleigh Saturday morning for Mr. Cooper’s “veto rally” as a way to draw attention to his fight against Republicans.
“The Republican legislative majority, which has only 48 hours to turn the clock back 50 years, is stalling progress right now,” Cooper said. The crowd around him chanted, “Vote! Veto!”
Abortion is currently legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks. A 12-week ban would dramatically reduce access to abortion.
The ban will affect other states as well. North Carolina has become a haven for Southern women seeking abortions, and for women whose home states have banned the procedure. North Carolina has seen the biggest increase in abortions of any other state since the US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion last year.
The bill is a consequential strength test for a new supermajority in the Republican legislature after Democratic Representative Tricia Cotham joined the Republican Party last month. A few weeks later, she voted in favor of banning abortion in an apparent change of heart on the issue.
The 12-week ban is not as restrictive as Roe v. There have been other restrictions implemented in conservative states since Wade was overturned. Many states have banned abortions at any stage of pregnancy or after 6 weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant.
The North Carolina ban, which was vetoed by Mr. Cooper, allows for more opportunities and broader exceptions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most miscarriages occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. Republicans in North Carolina imposed a 12-week ban as a compromise.
Senator Phil Berger, a Republican, said Saturday that the bill is “a mainstream approach to limiting elective abortion.”
But abortion rights advocates say the bill would be devastating to women’s health because of other barriers, such as longer waiting times, more in-person doctor visits, and restrictions on abortion providers.
Republicans in the House and Senate are expected to vote in the coming days to overturn the governor’s veto.
Republican Senator Berger said Saturday that he expected Senate Republicans “to quickly overrule Governor Cooper’s veto.”
That redefinition would most likely require the vote of all elected Republicans, which is not certain.
Governor Cooper has mounted a campaign to pressure residents across the state to vote against the redistricting, including several Republican members of Congress who are considered able to move on the issue.