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OPINION

North Carolina’s 12-Week Protection Bill Represents Public Consensus

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

This column was co-authored by Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of North Carolina Values Coalition. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper sat next to abortion executives on Tuesday afternoon at his Mecklenburg County roundtable on the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act. Following the General Assembly’s passage of the bill that would eliminate painful, late-term abortions, the governor has been on tour targeting four North Carolina lawmakers to intimidate them into upholding his imminent veto of SB 20. While he has repeatedly characterized his veto as representative of public opinion, involving the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood and the owner of another abortion facility on Tuesday’s panel paints another picture.    

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Throughout his crusade, Gov. Cooper has characterized the legislation that would protect unborn children from abortion starting at 12 weeks as “extreme.” In reality, protecting babies at 12 weeks has the support of 62% of North Carolinians, including 68% of Independents and 61% of women. The vast majority of Americans agree. According to a recent Marist poll, seven in 10 Americans support limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy at most. A Harvard-Harris poll had similar findings with 72% of voters – and 75% of women – wanting to protect life by no later than 15 weeks.

What is included in this bill that Gov. Cooper and his abortion industry pals find so offensive?    

To start, it would provide $160 million for women and families. The bill would expand access to childcare with a $75 million investment – an amount that would have an immense impact on working parents and daycare providers across the state. SB 20 includes $59 million for foster care, kinship care and children’s homes. Twenty million dollars would go toward establishing paid maternity and paternity leave for teachers and state employees. There is also an investment to reduce infant and maternal mortality as well as dollars to help moms and dads complete community college. 

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SB 20 allows exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. It specifically outlines that treatment for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage does not constitute abortion. The life of the mother provision allows for the necessary and timely medical treatment to save the life of a woman facing a medical emergency. 

The legislation combats discrimination. It protects an unborn child from being the victim of abortion based on sex, race or a Down syndrome prognosis. It also includes a born-alive provision. Babies who survive a failed abortion are entitled to the same legal protections and standard of medical care as any other baby of the same gestational age.

The measure protects women’s health and safety as well as informed consent. SB 20 requires the same health and safety standards for abortion facilities as for ambulatory surgical centers. It ensures that women are not rushed or coerced into unwanted abortions.   

Most importantly, the Care for Women, Children and Families Act would eliminate painful abortions. Life begins at conception and at 15 weeks gestation, science shows that babies can feel pain. At this stage, babies who undergo in utero surgery receive anesthesia and pain medication.   

You wouldn’t know these details based on what Cooper has said. The governor has mischaracterized the legislation in countless ways to further an extreme agenda for abortion up until birth – a position held by only 22% of North Carolinians. As Rep. John Bradford recently pointed out in a statement to the Charlotte Observer, the governor plays to the radical left and his out-of-touch positions are not supported by mainstream voters.   

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Gov. Cooper is instead representing the financial interests and self-serving political goals of the abortion executives who sat on his Mecklenburg County panel. He is trying to help them avoid what the Carolina Abortion Fund characterized as “economic punishment”from the legislature, so that Big Abortion can continue to seize upon abortion tourism and increase their profit margins at the expense of innocent lives. Their revenue will surely take a hit with a 12-week law that would protect thousands of babies within the state each year and decrease the 25% growth North Carolina has seen in out-of-state abortions. Planned Parenthood’s C-Suite has good reason to be concerned. The question is why Gov. Cooper, the leader of the purple state of North Carolina, is doing the abortion industry’s bidding through a joint tour to bully legislators. 

That’s not what North Carolinians want. The voters support protecting life at 12 weeks when a baby’s heart has beat over 10 million times, his or her body responds to touch and you can begin to see if a precious little one resembles mom or dad. Americans, at large, are on the same page. We stand with representatives Bradford, Tricia Cotham and Ted Davis; Sen. Michael Lee; and North Carolina Republicans as they represent the compassionate will of the people over Gov. Cooper’s extreme Planned Parenthood-driven agenda.

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