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Republicans successfully overcame Democratic opposition and pushed through pro-life legislation in North Carolina earlier this year, banning most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Their perseverance has already begun to pay off in the way of possible lives saved.
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute revealed Wednesday that SB 20, the "Care for Women, Children, and Families Act," had an immediate and "severe impact" on the number of babies exterminated in North Carolina.
What's the background?
SB 20 was introduced in the state Senate in January. It handily cleared the state House and Senate in May along party lines.
Whereas before, North Carolina permitted abortions well into the second trimester, SB 20 prohibits the lethal procedure after 12 weeks. It also protects abortion survivors; protects unborn babies from discrimination based on race, sex, or Down syndrome; ensures women are not rushed or coerced into unwanted abortions; and provides $160 million in support for children, families, and maternal health, including $75 million to expand access to child care.
The law does, however, allow for various exceptions. For instance, abortions are permitted through 20 weeks for pregnancies resultant of rape or incest and during the first 24 weeks if the baby has a "life-limiting anomaly.
Democratic Gov. Cooper vetoed the bill, claiming the measure's "fine-print requirements" as well as "restrictions will shut down clinics and make abortion completely unavailable to many women at any time, causing desperation and death."
Cooper apparently hadn't counted on former Democratic state Rep. Tricia Cotham — who switched parties in April — giving the GOP the supermajority it needed to crush the veto.
Cotham reckoned "this bill strikes a reasonable balance."
TheBlaze reported that the state Senate voted 30-20 to successfully override Cooper's veto, then hours later the House voted 72-48 along party lines to the same effect.
After the overrides, protesters chanted "shame" at the Republicans. Now, months later, those Republicans might take pride in knowing their controversial votes may have reduced the number of babies killed by thousands.
'Devastating' protection of the unborn
According to the Guttmacher Institute, whereas 4,230 babies were reportedly terminated in June, there were 2,920 abortions — 1,310 fewer — in July, the month SB 20 went into effect.
"The steep drop we see in North Carolina’s July abortion numbers likely represents both North Carolinians and out-of-state patients who are no longer able to access vital reproductive health care due to arbitrary gestational bans and medically unnecessary barriers," according to Isaac Maddow-Zimet, data scientist and project leader for the institute's monthly abortion provision study.
While the 12-week abortion ban has apparently been impactful, the institute's so-called policy experts suggested that "the new in-person requirement to receive state-mandated counseling at least 72 hours before the procedure, which was previously offered by telephone, may be having an even wider impact."
Dr. Jonas Swartz, an abortionist at Chapel Hill Planned Parenthood, told the News & Observer that pro-life laws in North Carolina appear to have also dissuaded abortion tourism from other states.
On account of the new mandated waiting period, Swartz suggested that "it's just not feasible to come and spend three to five days in North Carolina to get the abortion."
Maddow-Zimet told the News & Observer that the pro-life legislation might even lead some abortion-seekers to "continue their pregnancy."
"In addition to causing direct harm to people seeking abortion, North Carolina’s abortion ban immediately caused mass confusion and devastation among health care providers as we were forced to delay time-sensitive health care and turn away patients we were trained to care for," said Katherine Farris, the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, responded to the Guttmacher report, stating, "It is great news that the lives of more innocent unborn children are being saved and that the new law appears to be working to keep North Carolina from being a destination for abortion."
"With increased resources for pregnant women provided by the Care for Women, Children, and Families Act and increased funding to Pregnancy Care Centers, women have more support than ever and a safety-net of care to help them choose life," continued Fitzgerald. "After Dobbs, abortions in North Carolina were up 37%, so while 30% is an encouraging number, we still need to reduce abortions in North Carolina, as 90% of abortions are done before the twelfth week. North Carolina needs to continue saving the lives of even more unborn babies, while supporting and caring for their mothers."
Caitlin Connors, southern regional director of SBA Pro-Life America, similarly lauded North Carolina lawmakers for their lifesaving victory, telling LifeNews.com, "This bill would protect thousands of lives a year from brutal abortions at a point when unborn babies have beating hearts, recognizable faces and unique fingerprints forming, and the capacity to suffer, as well as stopping dangerous mail-order abortion pills and more. It demonstrates the legislature’s serious commitment to giving women and families in North Carolina the support they need to thrive."
The Guttmacher Institute, which suggested that a reduction in the number of lives snuffed out this summer was "devastating," has acknowledged the success of pro-life legislation nationwide. North Carolina reportedly helped contribute to a 7% national decline in the number of abortions executed from June to July.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.