Women gathered in late June to protest the Supreme Court's decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health case in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Abortions are now considered illegal after the 20th week of pregnancy in North Carolina, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. This decision erodes the rights of women in one of the southern states of the United States which until now remained a place of refuge for reproductive freedom.
In his judgment, Justice William Osteen concludes that the recent Supreme Court decision, having overturned the famous case of Roe v. Wade, had the consequence of nullifying any legal basis supporting his own decision rendered in 2019, where he had imposed an injunction against the application of a 1973 anti-abortion law.
This U-turn by Justice Osteen flies in the face of recommendations made by all parties involved in the 2019 ruling, including doctors, prosecutors and the Attorney General's office, who filed briefs earlier this month. asking to leave the injunction in place.
Neither this court, nor the public, nor lawyers, nor doctors have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court, wrote Justice Osteen who was appointed under Republican President George W. Bush.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper
Unable to pass a new law banning abortion that can survive Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto, Republican leaders in the General Assembly asked Judge Osteen to withdraw his injunction and restore the veto. x27;enforcement of the 1973 Act in a factum filed July 27 as an amicus curiae.
A move made following the Attorney General's refusal to the state, a pro-choice Democrat, to submit itself to the judge a request to restrict the right to abortion.
This ruling by Justice Osteen adds fuel to the fire in an already heated midterm election since the Supreme Court ruling that thrust state politics into the spotlight. In November, the Republicans of North Carolina will try to get their hands on the five seats they need to hold a supermajority allowing them to counter the right of veto of the Democratic governor.
Elected Republicans do not hide that a successful campaign could open the door to even tougher laws to ban pregnancy terminations.
House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on July 26 that he would like to see a bill come before the House that would ban abortion as soon as an ultrasound can detect the heartbeat of the fetus. Generally, a heartbeat can be detected around the sixth week, before many women even know they are pregnant.
Governor Roy Cooper and Democrats have already made abortion rights a major campaign issue. By an executive order signed on July 6, Mr. Cooper protected patients who travel to another state to have an abortion from extradition proceedings. It also prohibited all state agencies in North Carolina from collaborating with other states to prosecute women who travel for pregnancy termination.
In the southern United States, North Carolina is considered a haven for women in South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, where abortion is prohibited from the sixth week of pregnancy .
Before the injunction was withdrawn by Judge Osteen, abortion was legal in North Carolina until the fetus was viable, meaning somewhere between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
Only medical emergencies allowed exceptions.