Judge Reinstates North Carolina Ban on Killing Viable Babies in Late-Term Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2022   |   5:48PM   |   Washington, DC

A judge has reinstated a North Carolina law that bans late-term abortions, including on viable babies. The law bans abortions after 20 weeks when unborn children feel pain and, by 22 weeks, unborn babies are capable of surviving outside the womb.

Planned Parenthood and a group of abortion practitioners filed a lawsuit back in 2016 challenging North Carolina’s 20-week abortion limit. A federal district court head the suit and issued a ruling striking down the law and, in a decision today, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision.

Now, thanks to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated the ban — which bans abortions except in medical emergencies. he cited the Dobbs decision as reversing the legal argument for blocking the ban previously. Before the ruling, babies could be killed in abortions up to 28 weeks.

“Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court,” wrote Osteen, who was appointed to the court by Republican President George W. Bush.

The 20-week ban is probably the strongest the state can have on the books because pro-abortion Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would veto any pro-life law to ban abortions further. But the November elections could help Republicans pass a pro-life bill banning abortions if they can get a veto-proof majority.

House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on July 26 that he would like to see the legislature consider banning abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected.

The 20-week ban was first passed in 1973 but abortion activists decided to challenge it in 2016 as a method of trying to remove older pro-life laws from the books in every state possible around the country.

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Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin have abortion bans currently in place while Idaho, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee have heartbeat laws in place protecting babies from abortions starting at 6 weeks.

As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.

Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.

Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.

Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.

Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.

Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.

Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. Some 35 states have laws making it clear that miscarriage is not abortion and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.