RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 263 on Wednesday that would “take several steps to defend access to reproductive health services in North Carolina.”
“The Supreme Court ripped away the constitutional right to reproductive freedom that women have relied on for five decades,” said Governor Cooper. “For now, it’s up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina they still can, thanks to my veto and enough legislative votes to sustain it. I am determined to keep it that way and people need to know that their votes in state legislative races this November will determine the fate of women’s health and freedom in our state.”
Abortion is still legal in North Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, a 1973 decision that made it available nationwide. Several states have outlawed abortion since the ruling was overturned.
The state is reporting an influx of reproductive health care patients coming to the state. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic reports that one-third of patients in North Carolina just this week are from out of state. They are projecting at least 10,000 people crossing state borders into North Carolina to seek reproductive care, mostly from states like South Carolina with bans and tighter restrictions.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has paved the way for state lawmakers to pass an all-out ban as soon as next year,” said Jenny Black with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
Wednesday’s executive order will also prohibit state agencies from forcing a pregnant state employee to travel to another state where there are not protections for the health of the pregnant employee. It also directs the Department of Public Safety to work with law enforcement to prohibit anyone from blocking access to a health care facility.
In addition, patients from out-of-state are also protected by the order as states prohibiting abortion cannot seek extradition or conduct investigations into the out-of-state patient.
Planned Parenthood says their doors are open in North Carolina, and they aren’t going anywhere.
“Abortion is a normal part of reproductive health care. Every person is the expert in their own life, and we must trust them to make their own decisions about their health, their family, and their future,” said Dr. Katherine Farris, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.