Stein won’t defend state in lawsuit

FILE - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks during a news conference at the North Carolina Department of Justice in Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum, File)

RALEIGH — Attorney General Josh Stein won’t defend state law in yet another lawsuit, this time one regarding the dispensing of abortion pills being challenged by a Durham physician. 

The decision by Stein, a Democrat, means Republican legislative leaders who want to keep abortion restrictions consistent with state law would have to seek to formally intervene in the federal lawsuit filed in January in U.S. District Court. 

Stein, who supports abortion and is running for governor next year, is a defendant in the lawsuit along with a district attorney and state health and medical officials. Stein and state Department of Justice attorneys are tasked with defending state laws in court.