North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order on Wednesday to ensure access to abortion in the state, citing an expected increase in abortion clients coming from out of state.
According to ABC News, the executive order ensures that neither a woman who undergoes an abortion nor an abortionist who commits abortions in North Carolina will be penalized, with the executive order protecting them from extradition to the woman’s pro-life state. It also states that members of the North Carolina Cabinet are prohibited from cooperating in investigations launched by other states regarding abortions in North Carolina. The order says they should instead “pursue opportunities to protect people or entities who are providing, assisting, seeking or obtaining lawful reproductive health care services in North Carolina.”
The executive order also says that cabinet members are not to require any pregnant government employee to travel to a state that has pro-life laws which do not include an exception for the life of the mother. (It should be noted that every state that has enacted pro-life protections currently has a life of the mother exception.)
Additionally, it directs the Department of Public Safety to enforce a state law that prohibits people from blocking access to an abortion facility — something that is also federally illegal under the FACE Act.
“The Supreme Court ripped away the constitutional right to reproductive freedom that women have relied on for five decades,” Cooper said Wednesday. Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Alexis McGill Johnson was present as Cooper signed the executive order.
“Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, North Carolina has become an increasingly critical access point for people traveling for abortion care, including from neighboring South Carolina and Tennessee, where lawmakers in both states have swiftly banned most abortions,” McGill Johnson said. “Now we must continue to do everything in our power to ensure abortion remains accessible in North Carolina, both for North Carolinians and those forced to flee their own state amid mounting restrictions and cruel bans.”
Cooper noted that one-third of the abortions scheduled in North Carolina this week will be carried out on women from out of state. He cited Planned Parenthood South Atlantic data which projects that thousands of people will travel to the state for abortion. “That means there are projected to be at least 10,000 people coming to North Carolina to access reproductive health care services, mostly from states with bans and tighter restrictions. These are just numbers from Planned Parenthood, and do not include estimates from the state’s other trusted providers,” Cooper said in a press release.
It appears Cooper is working closely with Planned Parenthood to ensure North Carolina becomes an abortion travel destination, boosting the abortion industry in the state.
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