The decision about when and whether to give birth is a deeply personal, fundamental right. I agree with the majority of Americans who believe that the protections guaranteed for 50 years under the Roe v Wade decision (and its progeny) were a reasonable, workable compromise on a divisive subject. Roe acknowledged that pregnancy is a major life event, that demands significant risk and sacrifice. The Roe framework avoided forced pregnancies and births, protected the lives and well-being of pregnant women and girls, allowed grace during complications such as ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and fatal fetal abnormalities, and protected IVF procedures, while also acknowledging that restrictions on abortion are appropriate later in pregnancy.
Now that the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision has eliminated this established constitutional right, it will be up to state legislatures to determine what the law should be.
The law should protect the right to end a pregnancy until the point when the fetus is viable outside the womb. Simply put, when someone has made the decision to have an abortion, they should be able to get one without facing restrictions that force them to delay care, travel to another state, listen to medically inaccurate political statements, or force them to carry a pregnancy against their will. Pre-viability, we do not want politicians and prosecutors second guessing and interrogating pregnant patients and their doctors about the reasons, options and decisions. Forced pregnancy and forced birth are unAmerican and unacceptable.
After the point of fetal viability (around 22-26 weeks), it is appropriate to limit access to abortion. I do not support elective abortion after 26 weeks. It is very important, however, that we have protections to make abortion available at any point when needed to protect the life and health of the mother and/or when the fetus has a fetal abnormality and/or cannot survive. These are difficult, private medical decisions that must be made by a patient in consultation with her loved ones and doctor, without fear of criminal charges. The alternative will scare doctors from treating pregnant patients and will make women afraid to get pregnant, for fear of being denied life-saving medical care and being forced to continue a risky pregnancy.
I am proud to be the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 888, Codify Roe and Casey Protections, to codify into North Carolina law the protections that had been the status quo before the Dobbs decision. All 22 Senate Democrats signed on in support of my bill. I am determined to protect reproductive freedom in North Carolina and will oppose dangerous abortion bans like those in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky.
Abortion bans do not reduce the need for abortion, they just make it more difficult and more expensive to access. If we want to reduce abortions, we should address the root causes with compassion by enacting policies like:
· Expanded access to affordable healthcare
· Quality, affordable child care
· Affordable birth control (about 45% of all pregnancies are unintended)
· Accurate, age-appropriate sex education
· Stronger protections from rape and incest
- Develop new fertility treatments that do not rely on selective reductions (IVF and current medications do)
· Support for children who end up in foster care
· Policies that decrease poverty and address maternal and infant health