NC VALUES: Response to recent misleading press report on 20-week ban.

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For Immediate Release

NC VALUES: Response to recent misleading press report on 20-week ban.

"Abortion at any point in pregnancy is the taking of innocent human life, as medical science agrees that life begins at conception. It is a tragedy that the court has extended the 20-week limitation on abortion to the point the unborn baby is viable outside the womb.

However, the Court clearly drew the line at viability, which is considered by medical science to be 23 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. We urge the State to appeal this case, especially in light of the important ruling we expect in the next year from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Mississippi statute that limits abortion to 15-weeks of pregnancy." (Tami Fitzgerald, North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director)


RALEIGH, NC: The following clarifications relate to the implications of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal's decision:

  • Following the precedents set by Roe and Casey, the Fourth Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling that North Carolina’s 20-week limitation on abortion is unconstitutional.  The lower court ruled that abortion is legal up to the point of viability (not 20 weeks as the statute proscribes), which is considered to be 23-24 weeks by medical science.

  • This extends the length of time a woman can seek an abortion from the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (as the statute says) to 24 weeks.

  • After the 24th week of pregnancy, abortion is still not allowed in North Carolina.

  • While some would like to make this decision into a total lifting of any restrictions on abortion, that is simply not the case. The case legalizes abortion up to the point of viability, but not beyond it.

On Wednesday of this week, news organizations across North Carolina widely reported on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blockage of the pro-life 2015 North Carolina law that tightens some abortion restrictions (HB 465).

The media reports from North Carolina outlets largely fell into two camps. The first consisted of Associated Press reporter Gary Robertson's AP article entitled,  "Appeals court refuses to reinstate N. Carolina abortion ban." It was republished with credit verbatim in publications such as ABC News, Mooresville Tribune, Stamford Advocate, Decatur Daily, Star Tribune, and others. A second report on the Court's decision was published by McClatchy Washington DC Bureau reporter Brian Murphy, entitled, "Court blocks 2015 North Carolina law that tightened abortion restrictions." It was featured with credit in publications such as the News & Observer, the Charlotte Observer, and the Herald Sun

Since the story broke, we've witnessed some confusion over the ramifications of the Court's ruling. Some of the confusion may stem from articles which imply that any ban on abortions after 20 weeks was somehow rendered unconstitutional by the ruling. That narrative is false, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals clearly left in place North Carolina’s 140-year-old ban on abortion, which Roe v. Wade altered to allow abortions up to the point the unborn baby is viable (viability).  

The lack of listed authors in some articles makes requesting needed clarifications on behalf of the public more difficult. This is compounded further by the absence of pro-life voices in some of the articles. Therefore, our Coalition felt it responsible to clarify the implications of the ruling, as we listed above in the bullet points.

If you would like to discuss these clarifications further or schedule an interview with a representative from NC Values Coalition, we would love to hear from you! 

Please call or text us at 919-813-6490, or email us at 
[email protected].


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