Judicial

Federal judge reinstates North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban

By Dave Andrusko

On Wednesday District Judge William Osteen reinstated North Carolina’s ban on post-20 week abortions lifting an injunction he had placed on the state law prior to the US Supreme Court’s June 24th decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In 2019, Osteen “stopped the law from being enforced and declared the ban unconstitutional based on Supreme Court precedent,” according to CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Tierney Sneed. His decision was upheld in 2021 by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals .

“Under Dobbs, there is now no constitutional right to a pre-viability abortion, thus depriving the injunction of any constitutional basis from which to enjoin the challenged North Carolina laws regulating abortion,” Osteen wrote. 

He also disagreed with the parties in the lawsuit that lifting the injunction would lead to confusion, instead saying that “leaving the injunction in place wrongfully heightens confusion because to do so is misleading as to the effect of Dobbs.”

“Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court,” he added.

Last month, Attorney General Josh Stein, a pro-abortion Democrat, said the North Carolina  Department of Justice, would not “take action that would restrict women’s ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions,” he wrote. “Protecting that ability is more important than ever”…

North Carolina’s pro-abortion Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement “The significant problem with this ruling is that it will criminalize important health care that’s needed in certain extraordinary circumstances.”

Pro-life North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said Wednesday he is “encouraged that, although our attorney general has failed to do his duty, today we have a ruling that upholds the law.”

On July 26, Moore told reporters “that he would like to see the legislature consider banning abortions once an ultrasound first detects fetal cardiac activity — typically around six weeks after fertilization,” the Associated Press reported.

Reporters Avi Bajpai and Teddy Rosenbluth wrote that within hours of the June 24th  Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, “Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore asked Stein to ‘take all necessary legal action’ to reinstate the ban, which a federal judge ruled unconstitutional in 2019.”

Moore said that Republican leaders were “exploring all options to defend the law and protect life in North Carolina.”

Moore had previously told reporters that the legislature was “totally capable” of having its own attorneys ask the court to reinstate the ban.

“Despite his faux outrage, Josh Stein knows full well that the 20-week ban on the books does not limit women’s freedom, but protects the unborn when they are capable of feeling pain in the womb,” Moore said in a statement.

Berger also criticized Stein’s decision not to seek reinstatement of the abortion ban, saying Stein “swore an oath to uphold and enforce North Carolina law, and this is the latest example of his refusal to do his job.”

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