The legislature of North Carolina has voted to override the governor's veto of a moratorium on most abortions after 12 weeks.
The state's Republican-controlled legislature enacted the bill in early May, but Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vetoed it over the weekend. In consecutive votes, Republicans overrode the veto, eliciting chants of "shame" from onlookers.
The law, which reduces the abortion window from 20 weeks to 12 weeks, will now take effect on July 1. Tuesday, the state Senate voted 30 to 20 and the state House voted 72 to 48 to override the governor's veto. A solitary defection from the Republican party could have altered the outcome. Protesters at the statehouse began chanting, "Shame! Shame! Shame!"
The Care for Women, Children, and Families Act was passed by the state Senate on 4 May, one day after the state House, along party lines. On Saturday, Governor Cooper vetoed the bill at a rally. He stated that the measure would "stand in the way of progress" and set women's health back 50 years.
The law prohibits abortions after 12 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies. It requires that all abortions performed after that date be performed in a hospital.
Until 20 weeks of pregnancy or 24 weeks in the case of a "life-limiting anomaly" are exceptions in the cases of rape and incest. In addition, the law restricts the use of abortion medications after 10 weeks of pregnancy and imposes additional requirements, such as a consultation with a physician prior to the procedure.
The law provides 160 million dollars (£128 million) in funding for contraception, foster care, child care, and paid parental leave. Republicans retain narrow supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature, allowing them to override a Democratic governor's veto.
The party obtained its veto-proof supermajority last month when a Democrat who had previously pledged to protect abortion access switched to the Republican party. Congresswoman Tricia Cotham voted in favor of the ban after assuring last year that she would continue to vigorously defend the right to choose.
Republicans hold exactly three-fifths of seats in both the Senate and the House, so a single party defector could have derailed Tuesday's vote and allowed the governor's veto to stand.
The razor-thin supermajority prompted Mr. Cooper to undertake a last-ditch effort to persuade any Republican to cross party lines last week.
Tuesday, after the state Senate voted to override the governor's veto, four female Republican legislators issued a joint statement proclaiming that the new law "brings to life a culture that values motherhood and protects the lives of the unborn."
One of the four, Vickie Sawyer, blamed the Democrats of having extreme and exaggerated objections. However, Democratic state representative Deb Butler stated that the law would make North Carolina a less welcoming place to reside.
14 states have passed near-total abortion prohibitions since the Supreme Court ended the nationwide right to abortion last year. According to the Society of Family Planning, a non-profit that advocates for abortion rights and research, North Carolina saw a 37% increase in abortions following the Supreme Court ruling.
The majority of the increase was attributable to women traveling to North Carolina from other southern states, where restrictions are now mainly enacted.