Health care providers in North Carolina filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the constitutionality of various provisions of its abortion ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and physician Beverly Gray. The suit challenges the legitimacy of North Carolina’s Senate Bill 20, which bans most abortions in the state after 12 weeks of pregnancy and which is set to go into effect on July 1. The plaintiffs are asking the court to block the bill from going into effect.
The lawsuit names defendants including the attorney general, Department of Health and Human Services secretary, chair of the North Carolina Board of Nursing, among others.
The lawsuit picks apart the legislation and points to several alleged contradictions in the language and several areas where the law would be unclear. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs noted that the time between introduction of the bill and its passage was less than 72 hours, which they note would be the mandatory waiting period for an abortion in North Carolina.
“Likely as a result of this hurried process, S.B. 20 has injected requirements that are unintelligible, inherently contradictory, irrational, and/or otherwise unconstitutional into every part of the abortion process,” the plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit.
Currently, abortion is permitted until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers, however, voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of SB 20, which would implement significantly tougher restrictions on abortion access. Medication abortion would also be restricted after 10 weeks of pregnancy in the new bill.
The plaintiffs argued that while the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion, “The Supreme Court’s decision did not insulate abortion restrictions from court review if, as here, those restrictions are vague, impossible to comply with, irrational, inflict a high risk of suffering and death for no legitimate governmental purpose, and potentially violate the First Amendment.”