North Carolina Republicans Override Governor’s Veto to Ban Abortion at 12 Weeks

State Rep. Tricia Cotham, who recently switched parties after vocally supporting abortion, delivered the GOP the vote it needed for a veto-proof majority.

North Carolina Republicans Override Governor’s Veto to Ban Abortion at 12 Weeks
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North Carolina’s state legislature, which just barely holds a Republican supermajority thanks to the sudden defection of State Rep. Tricia Cotham, overrode the Democratic governor’s veto on Tuesday to enact a ban on abortion after 12 weeks’ gestation. Abortion is currently legal until 20 weeks in the state, making North Carolina a haven for desperate women and pregnant people who are increasingly denied access to reproductive options throughout the South.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had vetoed the bill over the weekend, but Republicans gained the power to jam the bill through anyway when Cotham, a longtime Democrat and vocal abortion rights supporter, decided to switch parties and support the ban earlier this month. Jezebel’s Susan Rinkunas reported this weekend on Cotham’s apparent reasons for doing that, which boil down to her feeling that her own party didn’t like and celebrate her enough.

Cotham released a statement Tuesday explaining her vote. “Some call me a hypocrite since I voted for this bill,” she said. “They presume to know my story. As I said at the time, I had an ectopic pregnancy that sadly ended in miscarriage, not an abortion.”

I’ve posted her whole lengthy statement below, but none of it remotely addresses what she’s actually said about abortion in previous speeches and statements, including, “My womb and my uterus is not up for your political grab,” and “I will continue to work hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood and allied groups to protect abortion rights and access and oppose anti-choice legislation.”

A crowd of onlookers in the North Carolina State House on Tuesday, per the New York Times, chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as the GOP-controlled legislature took the vote to override Cooper’s veto.

Banning abortion at 12 weeks, essentially after the first trimester, means that women and pregnant people who experience complications later in their pregnancies—as an outpouring of news stories have documented over and over since the overturning of Roe v. Wade—will be denied health care in the most painful and harrowing of circumstances. And North Carolinians are being politically trampled here, as they do not support banning abortion this early in a pregnancy: According to new polling by Carolina Forward/Change Research, 54 percent of voters in the state oppose the 12-week ban, while only 40 percent support it.

It’s a shame that people who voted for Cotham, thinking (reasonably) based on her previous speeches that she’d defend abortion rights, were deeply betrayed in the end.

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