In his ruling, Justice William Osteen concludes that the recent Supreme Court decision, which overturned the famous Roe v. Wade, had the consequence of nullifying any legal basis supporting his own decision rendered in 2019, where he had imposed an injunction against the application of an anti-abortion law which dates from 1973.
This U-turn by Judge Osteen runs counter to recommendations made by all parties involved in the 2019 ruling, including doctors, prosecutors and the Attorney General’s office, who had filed briefs earlier this month asking to keep the injunction in effect.
Neither this court, nor the public, nor lawyers, nor doctors have the right to ignore this rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court.wrote Justice Osteen, who was nominated under Republican President George W. Bush.
Unable to pass a new abortion-banning law that can survive Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, Republican leaders in the General Assembly asked Justice Osteen to withdraw his injunction and restore law enforcement. of 1973 in a factum filed July 27 as an amicus curiae.
This gesture was made following the refusal of the attorney general of the state, a pro-choice Democrat, to submit himself to the judge a request to restrict the right to abortion.
This ruling by Justice Osteen adds fuel to the fire in a midterm election already heated since the Supreme Court ruling that thrust state politics into the spotlight. In November, the North Carolina Republicans will try to get their hands on the five seats they need to hold a super-majority that could allow them to counter the Democratic governor’s right of veto.
The elected Republicans do not hide that a victorious campaign could open the door to even more severe laws to prohibit the terminations of pregnancy.
House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on July 26 that he would like to see a bill put before the assembly that would ban abortion as soon as an ultrasound can detect the heartbeat. of the foetus. Generally, a heartbeat can be detected around the sixth week, before many women even know they are pregnant.
Governor Roy Cooper and the Democrats have already made abortion rights a major campaign issue. By an executive order signed on July 6, Mr. Cooper protected patients who travel to another state to undergo an abortion against any extradition procedure. It also banned all state agencies in North Carolina from collaborating with other states to prosecute women who travel for pregnancy termination.
In the southern United States, North Carolina is considered a refuge for women from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, where abortion is prohibited from the sixth week of pregnancy.
Prior to Justice Osteen’s withdrawal of the injunction, abortion was legal in North Carolina until the fetus was viable, which means somewhere between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
Only medical emergencies allowed exceptions.