As a growing number of Americans seek out reproductive options amid the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, states like North Carolina are already seeing an uptick in patients from other states looking for abortion access.
Thanks to a recent executive order signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, patients and providers from other states who travel to North Carolina for reproductive health care services are protected against extradition and prohibits state agencies under his control from assisting other states’ prosecutions of those who travel for abortion services.
Access to safe and legal abortion services for North Carolinians, doctors and nurses remains protected.
“People throughout the Southeast rely on North Carolina as an access point,” stated Alexis McGill Johnson, CEO of Planned Parenthood at a news conference. “Without Gov. Cooper’s help, without his veto, access for people in North Carolina and South Carolina, Tennessee and the entire region would be devastated.”
Abortion service providers have reportedly seen an increase in patients coming from South Carolina and neighboring states, as the high court’s ruling triggered 13 states to immediately ban abortions after its decision.
More than 33 million Americans are impacted by the erasure of reproductive health freedom, with rural areas, communities of color, particularly Black women and childbearing people, and low-income Americans hit hardest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women and childbearing people are nearly four times more likely to have abortions than white women. Black women and childbearing people are also three to four times as likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white people.
A study by the University of Colorado found that the effects of the recent abortion ban could increase maternal death among Black women and childbearing people by one-third.
These statistics are startling and paint a troubling picture surrounding the increased disparities within reproductive access and maternal health care around the U.S.
Despite a majority of Americans supporting abortion access and believing that “the decision about whether to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant woman”, extremist Republicans across the country, including North Carolina, have followed up SCOTUS’ ruling by increasingly pushing forth laws to restrict or ban abortions.
“To keep abortion legal in this state, North Carolinians must elect candidates who will protect access to sexual and reproductive health care at the state level and ensure Governor Cooper has the necessary votes to sustain his veto of the all-out attacks on reproductive freedom that are sure to come,” stated Jenny Black, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic in a press release. “The future of abortion access not only for North Carolinians but potentially the entire Southeast region is on the line in 2022.”
Read the full executive order.