Abortion Bill Veto
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper announced his plans to veto SB 20: Care for Women, Children, and Families Act this week. SB 20 passed the General Assembly last week and would create limitations for abortions in North Carolina. Governor Cooper announced that he plans to veto the bill at a rally in Raleigh on Saturday, the last day he can veto the bill without letting it automatically become law. In a statement posted on Twitter, Cooper said, “Don’t let this so called 12-week abortion ban fool you. It will effectively ban access to reproductive freedom earlier and sometimes altogether for many women because of new restrictions and requirements. This is why Republicans are ramming it through with no chance to amend. I will veto this extreme ban and need everyone’s help to hold it.”
Legislative Republicans last week committed to overriding the Governor’s veto, before the bill had even passed both chambers.
Since there currently is a Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, Republicans can override the Governor’s veto if they are all present and voting. However, Cooper has called himself a “prisoner of hope,” saying he is optimistic that at least one Republican lawmaker will hold out and not vote to override his veto. Cooper has spent the week travelling to the districts of potential Republican swing votes, Senator Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Representative Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg), Representative Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), and Representative John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg). Cooper has held press conferences and round tables with doctors, activists, and other legislators in these districts to increase pressure on the individual lawmakers.
The Governor has singled out these members because all of them are in more moderate, urban districts, and according to Cooper, all of them campaigned in 2022 on a platform against lessening the state’s current limits on abortion. Representative Bradford and Senator Lee have both indicated they support the bill. Rep. Bradford told reporters this week that the bill represents a “reasonable compromise.” Sen. Lee has also indicated he will vote to override the veto, saying publicly that he only pledged during the 2022 campaign to not restrict abortions in the first trimester, unless there are exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
Representative Davis, however, has not voiced how he will vote. Rep. Davis was the only Republican absent during the vote on the bill last week. In response to the Governor visiting his Wilmington-area district, reporters asked Davis if he intends to vote to override the veto, but Davis did not comment, indicating he is still studying the bill and its ramifications.
The Senate will vote to override the veto first and could do so as soon as next Tuesday.