By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
August 19, 2022
“What we are witnessing is historic. Society has been treating children as liabilities for so long, but this is changing,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “No devil’s stronghold has been of greater import than the slaughter of the innocent unborn. With the fall of Roe v. Wade, we are seeing changes in the law that will save thousands over time.”
Rev. Creech was referencing a decision made by U.S. District Judge William Osteen to reinstate a law in North Carolina that bans late-term abortions after 20 weeks. The Judge handed down his ruling on Wednesday.
Planned Parenthood and some abortion practitioners had filed a lawsuit in 2016 challenging the State’s regulation on abortions. The suit was part of a larger effort by abortion activists to remove older pro-life laws in states throughout the country. The North Carolina law regulating abortion dates back to 1973 and banned abortions after 20 weeks when an unborn child can feel pain.
In 2019, Judge Osteen’s Court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood’s legal challenge that North Carolina’s abortion regulation was unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood had argued abortions should be allowed up until the time of birth. Osteen’s ruling at that time said abortions should be legal in the State up to viability, which is around 24 weeks. His decision was based upon what was Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Judge Osteen’s decision at that time enjoined the State’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, making the law unenforceable.
However, this year’s ruling by SCOTUS in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned both Roe and Casey. The High Court held that “[t]he Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe v. Wade and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
In a 6-3 vote, The High Court unequivocally declared that there is no Constitutional right to an abortion and made it possible for states to limit abortions and eliminate the viability standard.
Therefore, Dobbs set the stage for revisiting the ruling against North Carolina’s abortion regulation banning abortion after 20 weeks.
On July 8, 2022, Judge Osteen issued an order saying the previous ruling that North Carolina’s abortion ban after 20 weeks was enjoined “may now be contrary to the law.”
Judge Osteen ordered the matter to be brought before his Court again. Based on the overturning of Roe and Casey by the Supreme Court, this time, Judge Osteen reversed his previous decision and reinstated the 20-week ban, stating:
“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.”
After Roe and Casey were overturned in June, North Carolina’s legislative leadership called upon State Attorney General, Josh Stein, to carry out the responsibility of his office and take whatever legal action necessary to restore North Carolina’s abortion restrictions.
Stein declined, arguing he would not take any action that “would restrict women’s ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions.”
In a press release, after Judge Osteen had handed down his latest decision, House Speaker Tim Moore said:
“Today, a federal judge ruled that the injunction on North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban is patently contrary to the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court and should be lifted. I am encouraged that, although our attorney general has failed to do his duty, today we have a ruling that upholds the law.”
In his own press release, Senate President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger, said:
“Democrat’s 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. That’s barbaric and out of touch with North Carolinians.”
According to recent polling, most North Carolinians support reasonable regulations on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and more North Carolinians support laws after six weeks than oppose it.
LifeNews.com reported in July that Speaker Moore said, “he would like to see the legislature consider banning abortions once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.”
Rev. Creech said even though much had happened in recent weeks to end abortion in our State and nation, much advocacy was still needed to rescue the unborn.
“To get babies safely across the bridge of life, we must get past that ugly ole pro-choice troll underneath it, Governor Roy Cooper. Without a supermajority of pro-life lawmakers elected in the House and Senate for the next legislative biennium, there’s not much that can be done to save those in the womb beyond the current ban on abortions after 20 weeks, which is now enforceable. That’s why the next election is a matter of life and death for many of our unborn citizens in the Tar Heel state,” said Rev. Creech.