North Carolina GOP to attempt swift override of governor’s abortion veto

May 16, 2023  -RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature on Tuesday will attempt to quickly override the governor’s veto of legislation banning nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy in a consequential test of unity for the party’s recently attained supermajority.

The Senate plans to first consider an override Tuesday afternoon, according to Senate leader Phil Berger. House Speaker Tim Moore’s chief of staff said the speaker then aims to complete the override later in the day should Senate Republicans be successful.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill over the weekend in an unconventionally public ceremony after spending last week traveling around the state to convince one or more Republicans to uphold his expected veto.

He singled out four GOP lawmakers — one in the Senate and three in the House — whom he said made “campaign promises” to protect abortion access. Among them is Rep. Tricia Cotham, whose recent switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP gave House Republicans the one additional vote they needed for veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Both the House and Senate passed the bill along party lines this month, signaling an override could be successful. While GOP leaders in both chambers say they’re confident they have the votes, some uncertainty lingers in the House, where another key Republican called out by Cooper was absent for the original vote and has declined to comment on the bill.

Republicans have pitched the measure as a middle-ground change to state abortion laws developed after months of private negotiations between their House and Senate members. It adds exceptions to the 12-week ban, extending the limit through 20 weeks for cases of rape and incest and through 24 weeks for “life-limiting” fetal anomalies.

But Cooper has repeatedly said the details contained in the 47-page bill show that the measure is not a reasonable compromise and would instead greatly erode reproductive rights for North Carolinians and others who have become dependent on the state for abortions later in pregnancy.

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