Governor Cooper Vetoes SB20 | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper joined the North Carolina Reproductive Freedom Coalition at a rally for health care freedom. During the rally, Governor Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 20, the dangerous abortion ban that would have devastating impacts on women's reproductive health care in North Carolina.

    The veto message returned with the bill read as follows:

    "This bill will create dangerous interference with the doctor-patient relationship, leading to harm for pregnant women and their families. With its medically unnecessary obstacles and restrictions, it will make abortion unavailable to many women, particularly those with lower incomes, those who live in rural areas, and those who already have limited access to health care."

    The bill is opposed by the North Carolina Medical Society, the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. Governor Cooper was joined on stage by doctors and women as he vetoed the bill.

    "Let's be clear - this bill has nothing to do with making women safer, and everything to do with banning abortion," said Governor Cooper at the rally. "How about we leave medicine to the doctors and the decisions to the women."

    This week, Governor Cooper traveled across the state and heard from physicians, patients and advocates who shared stories about how Senate Bill 20 would be devastating for North Carolinians. At events from Wilmington to Gibsonville, physicians have highlighted how this legislation would dramatically reduce access to reproductive freedom and threaten their ability to provide care for their patients.

    Despite Republican attempts to disguise this abortion ban as "mainstream," Senate Bill 20 would dramatically reduce access to abortion and could cause women's health clinics across the state to shut down. In addition to imposing a general ban on abortions after twelve weeks, this bill would:

  • Ban medication abortions after 10 weeks; medication abortions account for approximately 60 percent of all abortions in North Carolina;
  • Require three in-person appointments days apart for anyone seeking a medical abortion, which doctors have called "medically unjustified and unnecessary," and make care harder to access for anyone who can't take off work, afford to travel, stay in a hotel or get extra child care;
  • Significantly increase the number of burdensome attestations for patients to complete prior to receiving reproductive health care;
  • Implement new regulations and licensing requirements that don't contribute to patient safety and could cause the closure of clinics providing abortions across the state.

    Several Republican legislators campaigned on promises to protect women's reproductive health. Governor Cooper encouraged attendees to contact legislators to ask them to stop this bill. Those Republicans who made campaign promises include:

    Rep. Ted Davis (HD-20, New Hanover County)

  • In 2022, Rep. Davis said he supports "what the law is in North Carolina right now" and "if a woman desires to have an abortion up to the first 20 weeks which is in the second trimester of pregnancy, she can have an abortion" (New Hanover County Republican Party, 10/19/22)

    Rep. John Bradford (HD-98, Mecklenburg County)

  • In 2022, Rep. Bradford said he "supports the current law" and had "no intentions myself of going back to Raleigh and trying to make the 20 weeks more restrictive" (Axios, 10/24/22).

    When asked about his position on abortion during a candidate forum in 2022, Rep. Bradford said he supports the current law in North Carolina, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. (Cornelius Today, 10/14/22)

    Rep. Tricia Cotham (HD-112, Mecklenburg County)

  • Rep. Cotham has repeatedly expressed support for codifying Roe v. Wade and campaigned on her commitment to defend women's reproductive freedom.
  • As recently as January 2023, Rep. Cotham joined NC Democrats in sponsoring legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade in North Carolina.
  • Rep. Cotham made headlines in 2015 for testifying on the House floor about her own experience having an abortion, saying the issue was personal and a proposed extended wait time would implement barriers to abortion.
  • During her testimony, Rep. Cotham said, "This decision was up to me, my husband, my doctor and my god. It was not up to any of you in this chamber."

    Sen. Michael Lee (SD-09, New Hanover County)

  • In 2022, Rep. Lee claimed he was "against bans in the first trimester." (Sen. Lee Op-Ed, 9/14/22) This legislation implements a ban in the first trimester for medication abortion and creates an effective ban in the first trimester for many women because of the increased requirements and potential closure of clinics.

    Contact: Sam Chan

    Phone: (919) 814-2100  •      Email:
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