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Federal Judge Blocks Two Provisions Of New NC Abortion Ban

Source: AP News

US District Judge Catherine Eagles recently issued an order blocking two provisions of North Carolina’s new abortion ban from taking effect during an ongoing lawsuit. According to the Associated Press, nearly all the restrictions put forth by NC Republicans, such as the ban on abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, are still in place and aren’t being specifically challenged at this time. 

Eagles’ order halts the enforcement of a provision to require surgical abortions that occur after 12 weeks – in cases of rape and incest, for example – be performed only in hospitals rather than clinics. That provision would have taken effect already had it not been blocked. Additionally, the judges’ order extended her temporary decision in June to prevent enforcement of a rule that doctors must document the existence of a pregnancy within the uterus before prescribing a medication abortion. 

The order will remain in effect until a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and a physician who provides reproductive care challenging the sections are resolved. The lawsuit also seeks to clarify whether medications can be used during the second trimester to induce labor of a nonviable fetus. 

The abortion ban was rushed through the General Assembly by Republicans and was subsequently vetoed by Governor Cooper; Republican legislators then overrode Cooper’s veto. Before the ban was in place, North Carolina had a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

NC Attorney General Josh Stein, an avid supporter of reproductive rights and a Democratic candidate for governor in 2024, is officially a defendant in the lawsuit, however lawyers from his office asked Eagles to block the two provisions, largely agreeing with Planned Parenthood’s argument. Following the judges’ order, Stein said he was encouraged by the ruling. 

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