North Carolina records sharp drop in abortions after 12-week limit, counseling requirements

by WorldTribune Staff, October 12, 2023

One month after North Carolina implemented a 12-week abortion ban and required in-person counseling before the procedure the number of abortions performed in the Tar Heel state fell by 31 percent, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Republicans, who hold a supermajority in the state’s General Assembly, overrode a veto by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper of a bill that lowered the state’s limit for most abortions from 20 weeks to 12 weeks and requires patients to have in-person counseling at least 72 hours before the procedure.

The new law includes exceptions for rape and incest and certain fetal anomalies.

The ban took effect on July 1 and “changed the landscape in one of the South’s last havens for women seeking abortions,” Adriel Bettelheim wrote for Axios on Oct. 11.

In June, the Guttmacher Institute reported, there were 4,230 abortions provided in North Carolina’s health care system. After the 12-week ban took effect, there were 2,920 in July. The 31 percent decline in abortions compares to 7 percent nationally.

Guttmacher, which advocates for abortion, said that North Carolina’s law requiring in-person visits before the procedure “may be having a wider effect than the 12-week ban itself, by forcing some patients to take time off from work and pay for travel and child care.”

Guttmacher found no corresponding increases in abortions provided in neighboring states like South Carolina and Virginia that would offset North Carolina’s decline.

In August, South Carolina implemented a six-week ban.

In Virginia, abortion access looms large in this fall’s state legislature elections. Virginia is the last southern state that hasn’t banned or restricted abortion since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade.

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