Fallout From NC Abortion Ban Will Reverberate In Southeast

Morning Briefing: Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations


The AP looks at why a former Democrat who ran on a pro-choice platform voted with Republicans in North Carolina to ban abortions at 12 weeks. Abortion developments from Texas, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are also in the news. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tries to avoid the abortion issue before an anti-abortion group.

AP: How One North Carolina Lawmaker’s Defection From The Democratic Party Upended Abortion Protections

Mere weeks before North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature enacted a 12-week abortion limit over the Democratic governor’s opposition this week, state Republican lawmakers appeared just one vote shy of an override.

But one House Democrat — formerly a strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights — unexpectedly switched to the GOP and then voted to squash Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the bill to limit abortion access. The switch by Charlotte-area Rep. Tricia Cotham gave Republicans veto-proof margins in both the House and Senate, upending the state’s fragile power balance and perhaps opening the floodgates to a new wave of conservative policies. (Schoenbaum, 5/19)

NBC News: North Carolina Abortion Law Makes It Hard To Travel For An Abortion In The South

As lawmakers in North and South Carolina work to impose new restrictions on abortion, options for women seeking to end a pregnancy in the South are diminishing quickly. In North Carolina, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy goes into effect on July 1. Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed the legislation, but the state’s Republican-led Assembly voted Tuesday to override that veto. (Bendix, 5/20)

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Politico: North Carolina Governor Slams State GOP For Overturning His Veto Of Their 12-Week Abortion Ban North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper slammed Republicans in the general assembly for overturning his veto of their newly restrictive 12-week abortion law last week — and suggested the GOP could end up paying for it at the ballot box in 2024.

“It’s amazing how they’ve ignored the will of the people here,” the Democratic governor told Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC’s “The Saturday Show.” “Most North Carolinians do not want right-wing politicians in the exam room with women and their doctors. But Republicans are controlled by their right wing.” (Svirnovskiy, 5/20)

Abortion updates from Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Texas —

Axios: Nebraska Set To Restrict Abortions, Gender-Affirming Care For Minors

Nebraska lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to ban abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy and restrict gender-affirming care for trans minors. The bill, which is likely the first to combine restrictions on abortion and gender-affirming care, heads to the desk of Gov. Jim Pillen (R) for his signature. (Gonzalez, 5/19)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Senator Decries Move To Block Bill Loosening Wisconsin Abortion Law

The Republican author of a bill that would overhaul the state’s abortion law says a Senate leader is “squashing debate” on a bill she and a group of GOP lawmakers introduced this spring that would allow doctors to provide abortions to victims of rape and incest — a policy change most Wisconsin residents support. (Beck, 5/19)

The Texas Tribune: Senate Passes Bill Targeting DAs Who Won’t Take Abortion, Election Cases

The Texas Senate passed a bill Friday that would allow locally elected prosecutors who choose not to enforce certain laws to be removed for misconduct. The bill is part of a larger effort by Republicans to rein in “rogue” district attorneys in Texas’ large, left-leaning counties who have said they do not intend to prosecute abortion cases and, in some cases, have adopted policies about prosecuting low-level theft and drug offenses. (McCullough and Klibanoff, 5/19)

In related election news —

The Washington Post: Antiabortion Groups Push 2024 GOP Candidates To Embrace National Ban

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Leaders of the antiabortion movement gathered in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office last week to head off what they viewed as a potential crisis. The former president’s reelection campaign had recently said that abortion restrictions “should be decided at the state level.” Days later, his rival, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, delivered a speech arguing against federal abortion limits that did not have enough votes to pass both chambers of Congress. (Scherer and Dawsey, 5/18)

The Washington Post: Republicans Deploy New Playbook For Abortion Bans

Immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republican lawmakers were quick to embrace so-called “trigger” bans designed to take effect as soon as the decision was released, while others rushed to pass additional restrictions that would halt the procedure in their states, sometimes backing proposals that did not include exceptions for rape or incest. Now, almost a year later, lawmakers in some Republican-led states have started coalescing behind bans that allow most abortions to continue — a reaction, some Republicans say, to the sustained political backlash to abortion restrictions that has been mounting since the landmark decision in June. (Roubein, Kitchener and Itkowitz, 5/20)

Politico: DeSantis Largely Avoids Abortion At Anti-Abortion Group’s Gala 

If ever there was a time and place for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to preach the gospel of his new six-week abortion ban, headlining the annual gala of the Florida Family Policy Council on Saturday night would have seemed to be it. But DeSantis made little mention of the topic during his remarks before nearly 800 people attending the conservative organization’s event, relegating it to about two minutes of a roughly 40-minute address. (Goldenberg and Wilder, 5/20)

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