The Pen

U.S. Federal Judge Strikes Down the 1973 North Carolina 20-Week Abortion Ban

On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Osteen struck down North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban legislation enacted in 1973.

North Carolina 20-week Abortion Ban allowed abortions during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and only after 20 weeks due to a medical emergency.

In 2016, after the definition of medical emergencies were further narrowed, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the ACLU filed suit allegedly that it was unconstitutional according to the Fourteenth Amendment.

Osteen, citing Supreme Court precedence, stated:

“a state is never allowed to prohibit any swath of pre-viability abortions outright, no matter how strenuously it may believe that such a ban is in the best interests of its citizens or how minimal it may find the burden to women seeking an abortion.”

The plaintiffs were encouraged by the ruling.

Center for Reproductive Rights staff lawyer, Genevieve Scott stated:

This ban is unconstitutional and ignores the unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications pregnant women face.

Politicians taking medical options off the table for women at any stage of pregnancy is irrational and dangerous.

The president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Jenny Black stated:

All decisions about pregnancy, including abortion, are deeply personal and should be decided between a woman and her doctor, without medically unnecessary interference from politicians.

This ruling affirms that right and send a clear message to politicians that women deserve our care, not our judgment.

Senior staff attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina, Irena Como stated:

Important medical decisions throughout different points of a woman’s pregnancy, including whether to have an abortion, must be left to the woman and her doctor – not politicians.

North Carolina’s ban was written by politicians to intimidate doctors and interfere in a woman’s personal medical decisions. We’re glad the court blocked this harmful and restrictive measure while affirming that people have a constitutional right to make their own decisions about their pregnancy.

The order will take effect in 60 days, allowing for the state to file an appeal or to propose alternative abortion legislation.