North Carolina Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto, Passes Bill to Protect Babies From Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 16, 2023   |   10:20PM   |   Charlotte, North Carolina

The Care for Women, Children and Families Act protecting unborn children at 12 weeks is now law in North Carolina following supermajority votes to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a common sense bill to protect babies from abortions has lost its first of two battles. Both chambers of the state legislature voted to override his veto of a modest bill to protect babies from abortions starting at 12 weeks.

Cooper spent last week crisscrossing the state and desperately making the case why abortion is a good thing for the Tar Heel State as he hopes to somehow convince one or more legislator not to override his veto of a common sense bill that would ban abortions after 12 weeks.

SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser celebrated the victory in comments to LifeNews:

“The battleground state of North Carolina has taken a major step forward in the fight for life. By defying Gov. Cooper’s bully tactics and standing for the will of the people, the General Assembly modeled great courage on the issue of life. Elected officials and candidates across this country should take note how pro-life leaders stood up to the extreme abortion agenda of the Democrats to protect life and serve mothers. North Carolinians reject elective painful, late-term abortion and Americans feel the same. According to multiple polls, around two-thirds of Americans want to limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy.. Americans value protecting babies in the womb who feel pain, suck their thumbs, make facial expressions and smile.


“We thank legislators for making this a historic day in North Carolina. We are grateful to SBA National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus member Sen. Krawiec, Speaker Moore, Senate Leader Berger and every legislator who voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s heartless veto. Today, the General Assembly has shown courage in compassionately protecting life and serving mothers while Gov. Cooper, Attorney General Stein and Democrats attempted to sanction painful late-term abortion through lies and threats.”

NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald also celebrated the victory.

“Today marks the beginning of North Carolina’s first real step towards becoming a pro-life state,” she said. “Pro-life North Carolinians have waited over 50 years to roll back the gestational age for sanctioned killing of pre-born children. With this veto override, legislators have rejected Governor Cooper’s extreme, unreasonable position of abortion without restriction up to birth.”

Fitzgerald added: “This pro-woman legislation has $160 million in funding to help pregnant mothers including $75 million for childcare, $59 million for foster care, kinship care and children’s homes, $16 million to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and $3 million to help mothers complete college.”

North Carolina law currently bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, so the new legislation would provide further protecting for babies from abortions. The new measure would provide limited exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality and currently law already provides a life of the mother exception.

The new bill is expected to save thousands of babies from abortions every year who otherwise would have been killed.

Based on the most recent CDC data, protecting unborn children at 12 weeks could potentially save 3,000 babies from abortions every year, not including reducing abortion tourism from other states that have legal protections for unborn children.

Medical experts testified in support of the bill, including Dr. Susan Bane, FACOG, a board-certified Greenville OB-GYN with more than 20 years in practice; Dr. Marty McCaffrey, a professor of pediatrics and a Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar; and Dr. Jeffrey Wright, FACOG.

Provisions of the Care for Women, Children and Families Act include:

  • No mail-order abortion pills – maintains current law requiring abortion pills to be administered in person by a doctor, strengthens informed consent on the danger of abortion pills, requires an in-person examination, prohibits advertising illegal sales of abortion pills.
  • Protects abortion survivors – babies born alive in failed abortions are entitled to the same legal protections and standard of medical care as any other baby of the same gestational age.
  • Combats discrimination – protects unborn children from discrimination based on sex, race or Down syndrome.
  • Protects women’s health, safety and informed consent:
    • Requires the same health and safety standards for abortion facilities as for other ambulatory surgical centers.
    • Ensures that women are not rushed or coerced into unwanted abortions.
    • Safeguards the life of the mother in the event of a medical emergency.
    • Specifically makes clear that treatment for ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage does not constitute abortion.
  • Limits elective and late-term abortions – exceptions include rape and incest up to five months and life-limiting fetal anomalies up to six months, with the requirement that palliative care consultation be offered.

The bill provides $160 million in support for children, families and maternal health, including:

  • $75 million to expand access to child care.
  • Nearly $59 million (not including federal matching funds) for foster care, kinship care and children’s homes.
  • $20 million for maternity and paternity leave for teachers and state employees.
  • Over $16 million (including federal matching funds) to reduce infant and maternal mortality.
  • $3 million to help mothers and fathers complete community college.

Caitlin Connors, southern regional director for SBA Pro-Life America, praised North Carolina lawmakers for reaching consensus to strengthen protections for women and children. She told LifeNews:

“The Care for Women, Children and Families Act is deeply pro-life and pro-woman and a major step forward for North Carolina. This bill would protect thousands of lives a year from brutal abortions at a point when unborn babies have beating hearts, recognizable faces and unique fingerprints forming, and the capacity to suffer, as well as stopping dangerous mail-order abortion pills and more. It demonstrates the legislature’s serious commitment to giving women and families in North Carolina the support they need to thrive. We thank our allies, particularly our Pro-Life Caucus member Sen. Krawiec, Speaker Moore and Senate Leader Berger, Tami Fitzgerald and all the local advocates who’ve championed this bill and we hope to see it swiftly passed. Governor Cooper and Attorney General Stein oppose the will of the people at their political peril.”

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America announced the findings of a new poll revealing that nearly two-thirds (62%) of voters in the state support protecting unborn children at 12 weeks. Results also show that 67% of the state’s voters support North Carolina’s existing parental consent laws.

Nearly two-thirds of North Carolina voters support protecting unborn children by at least 12 weeks, according to a poll by Differentiator Data. Only 22% of voters agree with allowing abortion up until birth, the position held by Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. The poll surveyed 500 registered voters from January 9-12, 2023, and has a margin of error of 4.5%.

  • 62% of North Carolinians support legislation to protect unborn babies by at least 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
    • 68% of Unaffiliated voters support such legislation.
    • 61% of women want to protect babies by 12 weeks.
  • North Carolinians widely support the state’s existing laws requiring parental consent (67%), a 72-hour waiting period (57%) and an ultrasound prior to an abortion (55%).

By 12 weeks’ gestation, all major organs have formed and the heart has beat over 10 million times. At this stage, babies suck their thumbs and already have a right-hand or left-hand preference. Prominent facial features including the nose, cheeks, eyes and ears are recognizable; teeth are developing; and the body responds to touch. For more information on fetal development, see Charlotte Lozier Institute’s “12 Facts at 12 Weeks.”