Pro-Life legislators in North Carolina have introduced a bill to ban abortions on unborn babies starting at 12 weeks. While pro-life advocates were hoping for legislation to protect babies starting at conception or at least a heartbeat bill protecting them beginning at 6 weeks, the political reality of the situation prevented that.

North Carolina Republicans face an uphill battle in getting legislation approved because pro-abortion Democrat Governor Roy Cooper is certain to veto any pro-life legislation and stronger pro-life protections for babies would have a more difficult time securing the supermajority necessary to override his veto.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders said on Tuesday there’s agreement for a 12 week bill and House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger both said they would push the pro=life legislation in their respective chambers.

North Carolina law currently bans nearly all abortions after 20 week, 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 Care for Women, Children, and Families Act would protect babies eight weeks sooner than what is provided under current state law, likely saving thousands of babies from abortion.

The bill places guardrails around dangerous abortion pills and increases support for mothers and families. This follows the legislature advancing over $11 million in support for pregnancy centers in the budget. The bill also contains provisions to make adoptions easier and to improve health care access for children and pregnant women.

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“It’s time for North Carolina to take the next step forward in honoring the sanctity of human life,” said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Forsyth County Republican and one of the negotiators of the agreement, adding that the bill “will undoubtedly save lives and improve health outcomes for many pregnant women.”

Cooper is already attacking the modest pro-life legislation, calling it “an egregious, unacceptable attack on the women of our state” even though it protects women’s lives before birth.

Republicans theoretically can achieve a veto override if Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham who recently became a Republican, votes for the override. But she previously supported abortion and three’s no indication yet whether she will vote for the bill and override.

In response, the national pro-life organization 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%).

Caitlin Connors, Southern Regional Director for SBA Pro-Life America, told LifeNews her group supports the bill.

“Allowing abortion up to 20 weeks – halfway through pregnancy and well past the point science shows an unborn child can feel pain – is not acceptable to the people of North Carolina. They are compassionate and rightly concerned with their state becoming an abortion destination. In the months after the Dobbs Supreme Court victory, some states moved swiftly to strengthen protections for unborn children and mothers, but under pro-abortion extremists like Roy Cooper and Josh Stein, North Carolina fell behind. Thousands more innocent babies have lost their lives in brutal abortions in the state, around 800 a month more on average. We’re talking about human beings with beating hearts and unique facial features, who suck their thumbs and react to touch. We urge the legislature to update the laws to reflect science and the will of the people.”

Based on the most recent CDC data, protecting unborn children at 12 weeks would impact over 3,000 lives within the state each year and lessen abortion tourism in the state which contributed to a nearly 25% increase in abortions in the first six months after the Dobbs decision.

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.”

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