Federal judge weakens North Carolina abortion law

 October 2, 2023

This past weekend saw a federal judge render portions of North Carolina's new abortion law unenforceable.  

According to The News & Observer,  Judge Catherine Eagles was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 and she is presiding over a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and a North Carolina abortion doctor.

Injunction prevents enforcement of two provisions

At issue are provisions of a bill passed earlier this year which largely bans abortion after 12 weeks. The Mayo Clinic's online pregnancy guide explains that at 12 weeks, a baby possesses limbs, hands, and has even begun to develop fingernails.

The Hill explained that with her temporary injunction issued on Saturday, Eagles blocked an element "requiring determination and documentation of an intrauterine pregnancy" before abortion inducing drugs can be administered.

The judge also blocked the law's requirement that any abortions performed after 12 weeks be carried out in a hospital.

"Having demonstrated the Act likely poses a direct threat to their constitutional rights and those of their patients, the plaintiffs also have established that they would be irreparably harmed," Eagles wrote.

Planned Parenthood official asks "anyone in need of abortion care to contact us"

This weekend's decision was welcomed by Jenny Black, who serves as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

"We will always fight for every inch of ground so that as many people as possible can get the health care they need in North Carolina," Black was quoted as saying in a statement.

"The court’s decision recognizes that abortion is health care and that there is no medical reason to deny even more patients access to this safe, compassionate, evidence-based care," she declared.

"Planned Parenthood South Atlantic remains committed to helping every patient navigate the unjust and inhumane confines of this law, and we encourage anyone in need of abortion care to contact us as soon as possible," the abortion activist concluded.

State attorney general celebrates decision

Eagle's ruling was also celebrated by North Carolina's Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, who issued a statement of his own.

"I’m encouraged that the court has struck down these restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom," the attorney general said.

"The law is not based in medical reality, and it was sloppily written. Women, not politicians, should be making these decisions. And I will never stop fighting for women’s freedom," Stein insisted.

A press release accompanying Stein's statement added that "doctors can provide medication abortions as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed" and "women who are allowed to obtain an abortion after 12 weeks because of one of the law’s exceptions can receive that care at a clinic and do not have to go to a hospital."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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