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NCGOP’s Extreme Abortion Ban is Just the Beginning, Party Leaders Say

Source: The News & Observer

North Carolina’s extremist Republican-controlled legislature passed a 12-week abortion ban last month – but that is likely only the beginning of the restrictions we could see in our state.

Republicans called the ban a “compromise,” which is a funny way of describing months of backroom discussions without any input from the opposition party or the public, followed by the introduction of the bill and subsequent passage in less than two days.

What the NCGOP really means is that their ban was a compromise among themselves. Shutting down clinics and restricting abortion is seemingly the ultimate goal of state Republicans – all you have to do is listen to the words of party leaders like House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. 

Moore, who personally supports a six-week ban, told reporters shortly after the House voted to override Cooper’s abortion ban veto that this is just the beginning

“This represents the legislation that I believe this General Assembly can pass,” Moore said. “I can’t say what’ll happen two years, four years, 10 years from now.”

Berger had a similar comment following the override.

“I think we ended up in a good place for where we are right now,” Berger said.

As for Robinson, who is running for governor, he appeared earlier this year on racist Republican state Rep. Jeff McNeely’s podcast and said that he would ban abortion entirely – with no exceptions – if it were up to him.

“If I had all the power right now, let’s say I was the governor and had a willing legislature, we could pass a bill saying you can’t have an abortion in North Carolina for any reason,” Robinson said.

Comments like those couldn’t make it any clearer that, given the opportunity and with the ability to do it, abortion will be restricted even further in North Carolina in the near future.

Moore and Republicans said that there would be no further abortion legislation this session, but that could very quickly change after next year’s election. Following a recent court decision, legislators will get the opportunity to draw new state House and Senate maps for the 2024 election. It is nearly guaranteed that the maps drawn up by Republicans will allow them to gerrymander districts even further in order to solidify their grip on power in Raleigh.

Already given permission to essentially do as they please by the right-wing state Supreme Court, Republicans will have the opportunity to slice and dice districts to ensure more Republicans get elected. Those who do win these new districts will be the difference in whether or not abortion is further restricted or outright banned in North Carolina.

The future of abortion could ride on the outcome of the gubernatorial race. If Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein wins, Republicans will need to have a supermajority in agreement on legislation in order to override his veto. If Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson or former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker wins, Republicans in the legislature will only need a simple majority to pass bills. Both Robinson and Walker have said they would restrict abortion laws further if elected.

Following the legislature’s override of Cooper’s veto of SB 20, Robinson told WFAE that he is “not interested in talking about abortion anymore,” but as The News & Observer reported, he later went on a conservative radio show where he said the new 12-week ban “gives ourselves the opportunity to set ourselves up to get ready to continue to move the ball.”

Walker said in a TV interview that North Carolina’s ban is just a “first step.”

Despite having great power – through gerrymandered districts that don’t represent North Carolinians – Republicans who want to pursue further restrictions on abortion are playing with fire. North Carolinians are opposed to further abortion restrictions. A Meredith College poll from earlier this year showed 57% of North Carolinians wanted to keep or expand the 20-week limit on abortion.

Abortion was a huge issue in 2022 and it will be even bigger in 2024. Republicans can pursue further restrictions at their own peril.


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