Cooper to hold ‘veto rally’ of abortion bill the day before Mother’s Day

Rally follows roundtables in counties of legislators Cooper has targeted to uphold his veto

RALEIGH —The day before Mother’s Day, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will be holding a “veto rally” for the bill that reduces elective abortions from 20 weeks to 12.

Cooper made the announcement on Twitter, asking the public to “Join Governor Cooper on Saturday as he vetoes this dangerous abortion ban and rallies supporters to help sustain his veto.”

Cooper’s “veto rally” will be held on the Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 13.

The fact the governor is holding a “veto rally” for the abortion measure on Mother’s Day weekend was highlighted by Laura Macklem, the communications director for NC Values Coalition.

A Pro-Life counter rally was announced late in the day on May 11 by the NC Values Coalition. According to the announcement, Pro-Life supporters are encouraged to meet in front of the legislature at 9:30 a.m. across from the Bicentennial Mall where Cooper is holding his “veto rally” at 10 a.m.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic NC is organizing to boost the “veto rally” attendance per a sign-up posted to Twitter by the pro-abortion organization.

“NEWS: @nc_governor will veto the sweeping, monster abortion ban on Saturday, May 13, at 10 am in downtown Raleigh. Join us for the veto rally to support the governor and help us stop this dangerous ban from ever seeing the light of day,” the Planned Parenthood account tweeted.

In addition to reducing the state’s 20-week limit down to 12 weeks for elective abortions, Senate Bill 20 continues the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. For rape, the bill has a 20-week cap, 20 weeks for fatal fetal issues, and no time limit restriction when it comes to the life of a mother.

The bill also has a number of spending items aimed at supporting mothers and families that include $3.5 million to increase contraception access and $3 million to help mothers and fathers finish community college. The bill also includes adoption tax credits, $20 million for maternity/paternity leave for teachers and state employees, over $16 million (including federal matching funds) to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and $75 million to expand access to childcare.

The rally announcement by Cooper follows his “abortion roundtable” trips to Mecklenburg County on May 9 and New Hanover County on May 10.

The governor has publicly targeted four legislators in his tweets in an effort to uphold his veto once issued. The targeted legislators are from the counties Cooper is holding his roundtable discussions and include Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), Rep. John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg), and Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg).

In a press release about the Mecklenburg roundtable, Cooper includes statements by the four legislators in which he claims they had “campaigned on promises to protect women’s reproductive health.”

The examples given by Cooper for Lee, Bradford, and Davis all refer to statements given in 2022 on the current law at the time of a 20-week elective abortion limit.  The only legislator of the four named by Cooper who has made remarks about upholding certain abortion rights is Cotham.

“Experts confirm that this legislation is not a 12-week ban as Republicans claim but an extreme bill that bans many abortions altogether,” Cooper said in the Mecklenburg roundtable press release. “Representatives Cotham and Bradford specifically promised to protect women’s reproductive freedom and we want the people of Mecklenburg County to ask that they keep that promise.”

Cooper’s press release also cites a news article stating doctors have called the in-person appointments related to obtaining a medication-induced abortion “medically unjustified and unnecessary” in an attempt to paint the bill as making “care harder to access.”

Under Senate Bill 20, for a medication abortion, a patient has to be provided with informed consent 72 hours before taking the pill, which is similar to the same waiting period after the initial visit for abortion in current law.

Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir) has pushed back on Cooper’s claims of multiple in-person visits, noting a pill or medication does not have to be during an in-person visit.

“That is simply a lie. The bill does not say “physicians must give abortion inducing drugs in person” which is how you get to your baseless argument about 4 visits being required,” tweeted Perry. “The “receipt” is on Page 10, lines 47-50. The physician must be physically present when the FIRST drug or chemical is administered, (emphasis added) and that occurs on the treatment visit, which is visit 2.”

Perry added, “Visit 2 is really only visit 2…the final REQUIRED visit.”

The law also says an in-person appointment can take place one to two weeks after in order to protect the health of the patient by making sure there are no complications.

Earlier this year in February, Cooper, along with 20 other Democratic governors, joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Reproductive Health Freedom Alliance.”

“The Alliance will work together to strengthen reproductive freedom in the face of an unprecedented assault on abortion access and other forms of reproductive health care by states hostile to abortion rights and judges who are advancing their ideological agenda. All Governors who support reproductive freedom are welcome to join the Alliance,” according to Newsom’s press release.

Newsom’s release included remarks from several of the participating governors, including Cooper.

“With reproductive rights under attack across the country, it’s up to governors to safeguard women’s rights and their access to health care,” Cooper said in the alliance’s statement. “North Carolina is a critical access point for women seeking reproductive health care, and the freedom to choose is a fundamental right we’re working hard to protect.”

As governor, Cooper has vetoed every abortion-related bill that has crossed his desk.

In 2019, lawmakers passed the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which required doctors to render medical aid in the event a child was born alive during a botched abortion procedure.

Cooper vetoed the bill, calling it “unnecessary interference” and “needless legislation.”

“Laws already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients,” Cooper said in his veto message. “This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.”

In 2021, he vetoed House Bill 453, a bill that would have required doctors to confirm an abortion was not being sought specifically because of the race or sex of the unborn child or the presence or presumed presence of Down Syndrome.

In his veto message, Cooper called the bill “unconstitutional” and gave the “government control over what happens and what is said in an exam room.”

About A.P. Dillon 1294 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_