Federal judge lifts some restrictions in North Carolina’s abortion ban

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A federal court judge lifted some restrictions in North Carolina’s abortion ban Saturday.

A District Judge, identified as Catherine Eagles by the ACLU, granted a preliminary injunction to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, making portions of the abortion ban “requiring determination and documentation of an intrauterine pregnancy” and “requiring surgical abortions to be performed in a hospital after twelve weeks” unenforceable by the defendants, which includes North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D). 

“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 stated in her ruling.

Eagles had previously temporarily blocked the portion of the law focused on doctors documenting a pregnancy in the uterus back in June. The 12-week ban was signed into law in June. 

“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,” Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s president and CEO Jenny Black said 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.”

“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,” Black continued.

Attorney General Josh Stein praised the ruling, calling the anti-abortion law “sloppily written.”

“Women, not politicians, should be making these decisions,” Stein said in a statement. “And I will never stop fighting for women’s freedom.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade last year, many states passed restrictive abortion bans or limitations. Data from the Guttmacher Institute showed a significant rise in the number of legal abortions in states sharing borders with those with limiting anti-abortion laws in the first six months of 2023 in comparison to a period akin to then in 2020.

The Hill has reached out to North Carolina State Sen. Phil Berger (R) for comment.

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