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North Carolina Republicans aim to override governor’s abortion ban veto


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North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature will vote Tuesday to attempt to override the governor’s veto of a 12-week abortion ban, a vote that will test the strength of the party’s new supermajority in the legislature.

The state Senate will reconsider the vetoed bill at its Tuesday session. If the effort passes the Senate, the House will vote to complete the override on Tuesday evening, according to the House speaker’s chief of staff.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation on Saturday, keeping abortion legal in the state at up to 20 weeks. But Tim Moore, the North Carolina House speaker, vowed that Cooper’s veto will be “swiftly overridden.”

Last month, Tricia Cotham joined the Republican Party after campaigning and winning her House seat as a Democrat, handing the Republicans a veto-proof majority. But if all Democrats vote against the bill, as they are expected to, the decision to override the governor’s veto could come down to just one Republican vote.

Cooper has spent the past week locked in a pressure campaign to encourage Republican legislators to break with their party and oppose the bill. In a video posted online, he named four Republican legislators who he said made campaign promises to protect abortion access.

“They say this is a reasonable 12-week ban,” Cooper said. “It’s not. The fine print requirements and restrictions will shut down clinics and make abortion completely unavailable to many women at any time, causing desperation and death.”

The four legislators did not immediately respond to questions on whether they would vote to override the veto.

The 12-week abortion ban is a less restrictive threshold than other conservative legislatures have implemented. It includes exceptions for rape or incest and a “life-limiting anomaly” in the fetus.

But opponents of the bill say it would effectively curtail abortion access in a state that has become a haven for women seeking the procedure. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision last June overturning Roe v. Wade, North Carolina saw a significant increase in the number of abortions provided as women from surrounding states flocked to North Carolina to bypass strict abortion bans, according to numbers compiled by the nonprofit Society for Family Planning.

The bill would place new restrictions on abortion access. It would require that women have an in-person physician visit at least 72 hours prior to receiving a surgical abortion. Doctors must also make available to women a real-time view of the fetus and allow women seeking abortions to listen to the heartbeat of their fetus.

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