Between 2011 and 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a plethora of pro-life bills including measures that:
Because these laws were effective in increasing medical standards and limiting abortions in North Carolina, PPSAT and the other parties sued in 2020 in an attempt to have the laws overturned.
Then in October, 2022 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, PPSAT filed another motion. This one sought an injunction to allow health care providers other than “qualified physicians”—like physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwives—to administer chemical abortion drugs in the state. They claimed this was necessary because of the increased number of women coming to North Carolina for abortions after neighboring states enacted more restrictive abortion laws like those prohibiting abortion after conception or when a fetal heartbeat is detected.
In December, attorneys for House Speaker Tim Moore filed a motion asking a three-judge panel to dismiss the case, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. “The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbsremoved any doubt that states have the authority to limit abortion in a way that promotes life and ensures health and safety,” the motion read. “Dobbs overruled Roe and Casey, held there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion, and declared that ‘the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.'”
After this, PPSAT filed the voluntary dismissal of their lawsuit.
The dismissal doesn’t prevent PPSAT from attempting to challenge these laws in the future, but it does leave them safely in place for now. It is anticipated that further measures to protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers will be considered in the coming year with the new larger conservative majority in the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives, and a conservative majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
“Every woman deserves to have all the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life and one of Moore’s legal representatives. “Tragically, many women turn to abortion as a last resort, unaware of the resources available to them or the harms of abortion. No one benefits more from this situation than abortionists and their facilities. We’re pleased to have favorably closed this case on behalf of the legislators we represent, and to see these life-saving state laws that empower women remain in effect.”