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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Defies Republican Push and Vetoes Controversial 12-Week Abortion Ban as Imminent Override Threat Casts Uncertainty on the Future of Reproductive Rights

In a contentious battle over abortion rights, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed a Republican-backed bill that seeks to ban most abortions after the 12-week mark. However, the looming threat of a veto override adds uncertainty to the future of the bill.

Governor Cooper, a Democrat, called upon Republican lawmakers to consider their conscience and the advice of medical professionals before overriding his veto. Addressing a crowd of abortion rights supporters and voters in downtown Raleigh, he expressed hope that at least one Republican legislator would stand up against the bill.

The governor's veto would have been sufficient to block the bill's passage just weeks ago. However, a recent party switch by State Representative Tricia Cotham has granted Republicans a veto-proof supermajority. Cotham, previously a Democrat and an advocate for abortion rights, joined the Republican Party and voted in favour of the abortion ban.

Now, Governor Cooper must rely on at least one Republican representative to break ranks and prevent the bill from becoming law. However, Republican leaders have dismissed the governor's objections, labelling the bill as a "mainstream abortion compromise."

Senate Leader Phil Berger criticized Cooper, accusing him of spreading falsehoods and avoiding discussions about his own views on abortion. Berger expressed confidence in promptly overriding the governor's veto.

The bill, officially known as "The Care for Women, Children and Families Act," passed with support from Republicans earlier this month. It seeks to ban most abortions after the 12-week mark, with exceptions for medical emergencies, cases of rape and incest up to 20 weeks, and "life-threatening" fetal anomalies up to 24 weeks. Additionally, the legislation aims to restrict the mailing of abortion medication. Violating the bill's provisions could lead to disciplinary actions, including probation, fines, or license revocation, for healthcare providers.

As the political and legal battle continues, the fate of the 12-week abortion ban in North Carolina hangs in the balance. The state waits to see if there will be enough support to override the governor's veto or if the current 20-week limit will remain in place.