The US Supreme Court recently voted to overturn Roe v Wade, ending federal protections for abortion access and yielding the power to ban or protect reproductive rights to the states. North Carolina Republicans have repeatedly voted to reduce access to safe and legal abortions. A handful of seats in the General Assembly up for election this November will determine their ability to advance their agenda.
North Carolina Senator Michael Lee represents New Hanover County in the General Assembly. When given the opportunity, Lee has repeatedly voted with his party to restrict abortion access for North Carolinians.
Lee has voted at least five times to restrict abortions in North Carolina during his time in the legislature. Lee has supported measures designed by national, anti-abortion groups designed to chip away at abortion access to achieve their ultimate goal of banning abortion.
Lee voted to institute a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, among the longest in the United States. Such a long waiting period puts even more strain on patients – both financial and mental – and also endangers the lives of patients needing emergency medical care. The same bill also narrowed the definition of medical emergency to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks, limiting options for pregnant women seeking potentially life-saving medical care. Lee also voted to require abortion providers to send copies of ultrasounds to the state, which is not only a possible violation of patient privacy but also isn’t medically necessary and would lead to doctors being overwhelmed with having to keep unnecessary records.
In May 2021, Lee voted for SB 405. According to Planned Parenthood, the bill “would create confusion among…patients and doctors” and “demonizes and criminalizes doctors…and seeks to intimidate” reproductive care providers. A month later in June 2021, Lee voted for HB 453. According to Planned Parenthood, the bill would “would restrict access to abortion based on a patient’s supposed reason behind their decision.” These two bills, the same as many anti-choice bills passed in the legislature, are considered TRAP laws – Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers. Laws such as these are created under the guise of “women’s health,” but their true intent is to create laws that will lead to the closure of abortion providers and make reproductive care access more difficult.
Lee’s opponent in SD-7, Democrat Marcia Morgan, is a strong supporter of reproductive rights and has earned the endorsement of pro-choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, Emily’s List, Lillian’s List, and Pro-Choice North Carolina.
Although Gov. Cooper has said he will “hold the line to protect women’s reproductive freedom,” Republicans only need to gain two seats in the state Senate and three in the state House in order to have the power to override the governor’s veto and completely strip reproductive rights away from North Carolinians.
Abortion is on the ballot this fall in North Carolina and Michael Lee’s voting record speaks for itself.