Federal Judge Upholds North Carolina’s Law Regulating Abortions After 20 Weeks

Attorney General Stein fought to ignore state law

Raleigh, N.C. — Today, U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen reinstated North Carolina’s law that regulates abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs clarifies that North Carolina’s long-standing regulation of abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy complies with the U.S. Constitution and should be reinstated,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham).

The state law — dating back to the 1970s — regulates abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Since 2019, the law was unenforceable because of a federal court ruling.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which were the cases preventing North Carolina’s law from being enforced. In his order, Judge Osteen wrote, “Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court.”

While the Republican-led legislature was fighting to uphold the regulations, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein fought against established North Carolina law.

Despite recusing himself from the case, Stein continued to be the face of his office’s lackluster efforts to defend it. He used his recusal as an excuse to fundraise and campaign on the issue, including holding a press conference at the Department of Justice where he called on North Carolinians to vote for candidates that would block regulating abortions.

“Democrats’ position on abortion can only be characterized as extreme. Attorney General Stein’s political grandstanding has made one thing clear: He and his party want to allow abortion up to the moment of birth,” Sen. Berger said. “That’s barbaric and out of touch with North Carolinians.”

Polling shows that a majority of North Carolinians support reasonable regulations on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and more North Carolinians support regulations after six weeks than oppose it.

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Senator Berger Press Shop

Press releases from N.C. Senate Republicans and Senate Leader Phil Berger