North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signs executive order protecting abortion access

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order on Wednesday, protecting out-of-state abortion patients from extradition, and prohibiting state agencies from assisting other states’ prosecutions of those who travel for the procedure. Upon announcing the executive order, Cooper said he would use his authority over extradition warrants to protect providers and their patients from states that could punish residents who cross state lines to seek abortions. His executive order instructs Cabinet agencies not to comply with law enforcement agencies from other states pursuing information about abortion patients in North Carolina.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Gov. Cooper stood alongside Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, saying in part: “This order will help protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients from cruel, right-wing, criminal laws passed by other states.”  Johnson added: “People throughout the Southeast rely on North Carolina as an access point. Without Gov. Cooper’s help, without his veto, access for people in North Carolina and South Carolina, Tennessee and the entire region would be devastated.”

Cooper joined a growing number of Democratic governors seeking to offer sanctuary in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning abortion protections. Abortions are legal in North Carolina until fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. An abortion can be still performed after fetal viability when there is a medical emergency that could result in the pregnant person’s likely death.

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