After more than five hours of debate on Thursday, the NC Senate followed the lead of the NC House and voted to approve the conference report on Senate Bill 20 now entitled the “Care for Women, Children, and Families Act.” This bill would reduce the legal timeframe for most abortions in North Carolina from 20 weeks of gestation to 12 weeks. The bill also contains a myriad of other provisions designed to protect unborn lives and to assist mothers and families facing unplanned pregnancies. You can read more about the bill in NC Family’s earlier report.
The big question now is: Will SB 20 ultimately be enacted into law? Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has pledged to veto the bill. In a tweet on Wednesday, Cooper said, “I will veto this extreme ban and need everyone’s help to hold it. – RC.”
Following the veto, the bill will return to the General Assembly for override votes in both chambers, starting with the NC Senate. The NC Constitution requires three-fifths of the members of each chamber “present and voting” to vote for the override in order for a bill to become law “notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.” This means that if all members are present, 30 members of the Senate and 72 members of the House would have to vote to override.
Presently, Republicans have three-fifths supermajorities in both chambers, but just barely. The GOP holds 30 of the 50 seats in the NC Senate, and 72 of the 120 seats in the NC House, but only after Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg) switched parties from Democrat to Republican a few weeks ago. Cotham, along will all the other members of the House Republican Caucus—except Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) who had an excused absence—voted in favor of SB 20. None of the House Democrats supported the bill.
A similar situation existed in the NC Senate, as the entire GOP Caucus voted in favor of the bill—except Sen. Todd Johnson (R-Union) who had an excused absence. Every Democrat in the Senate spoke harshly against the bill during the five-plus hour debate on Thursday and then voted against the bill.
The ultimate outcome of this bill—along with the lives of thousands of unborn children—rests on a razor thin margin. Please fervently pray for the passage of SB 20—Care for Women, Children, and Families Act!
Governor Cooper has 10 days to veto SB 20 and return the bill to the General Assembly.