Cooper vetoes ‘born-alive’ legislation

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Gov. Rory Cooper speaks to the press after announcing a 410-job expansion by Corning Optical Communications in the old House Chamber of the North Carolina State Capitol building in Raleigh on Feb. 20.

RALEIGH — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a measure passed by the General Assembly that addresses a doctor’s responsibilities if an abortion results in an infant born alive.

Cooper announced his decision Thursday — two days after the General Assembly sent him a measure telling health care practitioners to grant those newborns the same protections as other patients. Those who don’t could face a felony and active prison time, along with fines and potential civil damages.

Cooper’s veto message echoed those of abortion-rights supporters opposed to the “born-alive” measure. He says current laws already protect newborns and the bill “is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”

The bill passed the N.C. House 65-46 with four Democrats in support, three Republicans absent, and Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady not voting. The threshold to override a veto in the House is 72 if all members are present.

Speaker Tim Moore responded to the veto Thursday morning. “Caring for a living, breathing, newborn infant is too restrictive for Governor Cooper’s radical abortion agenda,” said Moore. “We thought Democrats would agree that children born alive should be separate from the abortion debate, but it’s clear that they want the ‘right to choose’ to even extend past birth. This is a sad day for North Carolina.”

In the N.C. Senate, SB 359 passed 47-28 with two Democrats in support and three Republicans absent. The threshold to override a veto in the House is 30 votes if all members are present.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.