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North Carolina Governor Roy CooperChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

RALEIGH, North Carolina (LifeSiteNews) — Republican lawmakers in North Carolina overrode the veto of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday and enacted a law that bans most abortions after 12 weeks and places new restrictions on abortion drugs and clinics.

The Senate voted 30-20 along party lines Tuesday evening to uphold Senate Bill 20, and the House followed hours later with a 72–48 vote.

Cooper, a strong supporter of unrestricted abortion, vetoed the bill at a rally with abortion activists on Saturday, saying that it would “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 legislation is the result of private negotiations between conservative and moderate Republicans after the North Carolina GOP secured a narrow supermajority in the state legislature last month.

READ: Montana bans dismemberment abortions, enacts new limits on taxpayer funding

Though it falls short of a six-week ban pushed for by conservative lawmakers and pro-life groups this year, Senate Bill 20 contains a package of pro-life measures expected to disrupt the abortion industry in North Carolina, which has become a major abortion haven in the South since the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The law bans surgical abortion after 12 weeks, down from 20 weeks, and chemical abortion after 10 weeks and prohibits mailing abortion-inducing drugs to pregnant women. Chemical abortions – or abortions induced by pills, like mifepristone – accounted for nearly 60 percent of abortions in North Carolina in 2020.

It also imposes a 72-hour waiting period for abortions, requires women to make an in-person visit to an abortion clinic at least three days before an abortion, expands informed consent and reporting requirements, allows women to view an ultrasound image of their unborn child, gives them a private right of action to sue if they feel they have been coerced or misled by an abortionist, and bans advertising illegal sales of abortion pills.

Abortionists must schedule a follow-up visit for women seven to 14 days after a chemical abortion, which can only take place following an in-person examination and screening for abuse and coercion.

Senate Bill 20, moreover, tightens health and safety regulations for abortion facilities, requiring them to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, which may force them to shut down if they cannot afford costly upgrades.

Planned Parenthood has said that none of its six facilities in North Carolina meet the requirement. A similar rule in Texas led to the closure of more than a dozen abortion clinics in 2014.

Senate Bill 20 takes effect on July 1.

“The battleground state of North Carolina has taken a major step forward in the fight for life,” SBA Pro-Life America president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a press release. “North Carolinians reject elective painful, late-term abortion and Americans feel the same.”

A blow to abortion in the South

The new restrictions are a major blow to abortion in the South and make it particularly difficult for women traveling from out of state to get abortions in North Carolina.

As most southern states have banned virtually all abortions after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, abortions have surged in North Carolina more than in any other state, rising 37 percent between April and August 2022.

MAP: Most abortions are banned in 14 states, more states to follow

Around 5,000 additional unborn babies were killed in the Old North State in the first six months after the Supreme Court reversed Roe in June, according to estimates from the pro-abortion Society for Family Planning.

North Carolina already had some of the highest abortion numbers in the country, reporting more than 30,000 abortions in 2020. Nineteen percent occurred between nine and 12 weeks’ gestation, and 12 percent took place after 13 weeks.

But the proportion of late-term abortions has likely increased in recent months, with abortion facilities reporting wait times over a month long and women traveling to North Carolina from as far south as Texas, according to a recent New York Times report.

The enactment of Senate Bill 20, the recent approval of a six-week ban in Florida, and the expected passage of a similar bill in South Carolina will cripple the abortion industry in the South and put outsized pressure on Virginia, which may not have capacity to meet demand, the Associated Press reported.

Protecting conscience rights, banning eugenic abortion

Other provisions of Senate Bill 20 include protections for medical professionals who refuse to participate in abortion on “moral, ethical, or religious grounds,” a ban on partial-birth abortion “at any time,” and a ban on abortions sought “in whole or in part” due to a baby’s race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis, as LifeSiteNews previously reported. And it requires doctors to provide the same care to babies who survive abortions as they would to any other babies of the same gestational age or face felony charges.

READ: Republican congressman confronts abortion activist who discussed crushing the ‘skull’ of babies

The law allows abortions for rape and incest up to 20 weeks, for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies up to 24 weeks, and when allegedly necessary to avoid a woman’s death, though not for “psychological or emotional conditions.” Medical experts have attested that abortion is never medically necessary.

Abortions after 12 weeks must take place in a hospital.

Senate Bill 20 also contains tens of millions of dollars in funding for alternatives to abortion and initiatives intended to strengthen families, including $75 million to expand childcare access, more than $58 million to support foster care and children’s homes, $20 million for paid parental leave for teachers and state employees, and $16 million, including matching federal funds, to reduce infant and maternal mortality, according to The Carolina Journal.

The law, however, allocates $7 million to promote long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to low-income women. LARC can act as an abortifacient.

It additionally increases penalties for domestic violence and assaulting a pregnant woman and green-lights lifetime GPS monitoring of repeat violent sex offenders.