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North Carolina leaders react to SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington.
Anna Johnson
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the long-standing landmark Roe v. Wade ruling — the court's five-decade-old decision that guaranteed a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

North Carolina leaders were quick to react to the court's 6-3 decision.

Attorney General Josh Stein said on Twitter: "I have a message for the women of North Carolina: you still have a legal right to an abortion in our state. North Carolina state law protects women's reproductive freedoms."

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, echoed Stein's support saying: "It's now up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina, they still can."

On the other side of the aisle, Republican congresswoman Virginia Foxx praised the decision saying in a statement: "Abortion is not an exercise of freedom; it is a death knell for the most precious gift that God has bestowed upon us: life."

Similarly, Republican Senator Thom Tillis praised what he called a historic ruling and that it "affirms my belief that all life is sacred."

The two candidates running for North Carolina's open U.S. Senate seat in November's general election — Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley — had very different opinions on the subject.

Budd said in a statement: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a historic victory for the millions of Americans who believe that every life is precious and deserves protection.”

Beasley wrote in a tweet: “The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and decimate abortion access sets a dangerous legal precedent for our personal freedoms.”

She then added in a subsequent tweet: "Washington has shown they lack the courage to act to protect our freedoms. Everyone deserves the right to make their own health decisions without government interference. As your Senator, I will not hesitate to be the 51st vote to end the filibuster and codify Roe nationwide.”

Unlike many other southern states, North Carolina does not have a trigger ban on abortions. Among the states that border North Carolina, Tennessee has a full trigger ban that will likely go into effect within 30 days.

South Carolina doesn't have a trigger ban, per se, but it does have a ban on abortions after six weeks that was previously blocked by courts. With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, that ban is likely to be enforced.

Like North Carolina, Virginia also does not currently have a trigger ban, or a ban that is blocked by courts.

According to a recent story from the Assembly, Planned Parenthood estimates that North Carolina will see "between 17,000 and 70,000 additional" abortion-seeking patients each year after the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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