By CAL Staff and Rev. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
February 24, 2023
What will Tar Heel lawmakers do about abortion? Will the state remain an abortion haven, with women from more restrictive states flocking to North Carolina for the fatal procedure? Or will legislators stand for life and further restrict abortion now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned?
While Democrats in the N.C. House and Senate filed identical abortion bills late last month in an attempt to codify Roe v. Wade, Republicans, with a supermajority in the Senate and near supermajority in the House, are the ones with the power to decide. And GOP leaders are signaling that they may push through a bill that would ban abortion beginning sometime between six and 13 weeks with a few exceptions.
“I’m sensing more support for something less than 13, but something more than six … and I’m also pretty clear that those exceptions for the woman’s life and health, for rape or incest and if there was a fetal abnormality so that the child would not survive. Those things would always be an exception,” House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told host Tim Boyum on his Feb. 15 “Tying It Together” podcast.
As for how they plan to ensure a veto-proof majority, Moore said, “We just have to make sure the legislation that we develop is something that we develop in conjunction with those Democrats who will be voting with us.”
Both Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said abortion is such a personal issue that lawmakers will first have to examine their individual beliefs.
“I’ve asked my members to, one, figure out where they personally are, and two, to find out where their constituents are,” Berger told Boyum in an earlier podcast. He said when Roe v. Wade was in place, it allowed state-level politicians on both sides of the aisle to function in a “consequence free zone.” Republicans could take extreme far-right positions without consequence, and by the same token, Democrats could take the extreme pro-choice side, even voting against bills that prohibited very late term abortions.
“What the Supreme Court has done is that they’ve said policy should be decided by folks who are elected to make policy,” Berger said. “So now we have the responsibility of deciding where the lines are.”
Currently, abortion is legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Both Moore and Berger support the exceptions.
Moore says North Carolinians can expect to see a bill reflecting “a reasonable approach, something that will hopefully garner a number of votes from the other side of the aisle.”
“Although the members of our caucus have varying perspectives on how to approach this issue, all Republican members are united in their desire to enact legislation that protects additional lives and provides additional support to women, children and families,” a spokeswoman for Moore told the media. “The Speaker is confident this will result in a comprehensive bill they will all support.”
Neither Moore nor Berger commented on the podcast about which Democrats they believe will join them in the legislation, but Moore said he’s had good discussions that make him confident it will happen.
Nonetheless, it will not be an easy battle, as Democrats are signaling that they will stay unified against any abortion limitations. Every Democrat in the Legislature has signed on to House Bill 19, which would effectively keep the provisions of Roe v. Wade in place. Filed on Jan. 25, the bill remains in the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House, where it will likely never see the light of day.
One of the most powerful stories I have ever heard was about Gary Kildall, whose name many will recognize as the man who wrote the first popular operating system for personal IBM computers.
According to writer Phillip Fiorini, IBM approached Kildall in 1980 about developing an operating system for IBM PCs. But Kildall neglected IBM at a crucial meeting, according to another author, Paul Carroll. The day IBM called, Kildall was more interested in flying his airplane. So, the frustrated IBM executives turned instead to a fellow named Bill Gates, the founder of a small software company named Microsoft. Today, Bill Gates’s net worth is 105.1 billion dollars.
Of Kildall, who has since passed away, author Paul Carroll said, “He was a smart guy who didn’t realize how big the operating system market would become.” Kildall missed a tremendous opportunity!
Similarly, I fear a lot of pastors and churches who oppose abortion are unaware of the current opportunity to strike a mighty blow for the unborn in North Carolina.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which knocked down Roe v. Wade last year, declared that there is no right in the U.S. Constitution for an abortion. The ruling did not outlaw abortion but kicked it back to the states to determine their own laws on the practice.
Currently, North Carolina prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. This year, pro-life Republicans will decide whether to further the state’s restrictions on abortion.
There is no appetite by existing legislators to ban abortions at conception. However, lawmakers are seriously discussing two options: 1) banning abortions after the first trimester, and 2) banning abortions when a child’s heartbeat can be detected, which is at approximately six weeks.
A measure reflecting one of these two options, or something in between, can realistically be expected, with some exceptions included – such as the mother’s life, and rape or incest.
The differences between these two choices in the number of lives saved are profound. According to an analysis of state abortion statistics from North Carolina Right to Life, a Heartbeat bill would have saved 86% of the 30,004 babies killed through abortion in 2020 (the latest statistics available). This equates to over 25,000 babies that the passage of a Heartbeat bill could save every year. According to the same analysis of abortion statistics, a ban after the first trimester would save approximately 4,800 babies every year.
A Heartbeat bill would provide an opportunity in this state to save as many as 25,000 babies from the abortionists’ knives every year – 25,000!!! WHAT A TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY!
Nevertheless, suppose pastors, churches, and other pro-life citizens don’t weigh in now by contacting their lawmakers and urging them to support a Heartbeat bill. In that case, a huge opportunity will be lost, which might never return.
Whatever passes in the legislature is subject to Governor Roy Cooper’s radical pro-choice veto, which will undoubtedly be wielded.
Still, because of the Republican’s pro-life supermajority in the Senate, the Governor’s veto can be overridden. But an override in the House might be more challenging because pro-life Republicans are one seat shy of a supermajority. So, Republicans will have to get at least one Democrat to cross party lines for an override to succeed. It will be a challenge, but it is doable.
The Christian Action League is now urging every pastor, and every pro-life church, to phone their legislators in both the House and the Senate (whether Republican or Democrat) and implore them to pass a Heartbeat bill.
Perhaps, your convictions won’t allow you to urge your lawmakers to do anything less than a ban at conception. If this is your conviction, don’t discourage them from Heartbeat bill. But phone them anyway, and tell them you believe they should ban abortions at conception. The main thing is that they need to hear from you – and they need to hear from you right away.
Again, let me encourage you to call them on the phone. Sending an email is better than nothing. Nevertheless, emails are not as effective. Call them on the telephone! Urge them to file and pass Heartbeat legislation!
When you call, if you don’t get to speak directly to your lawmaker, leave a message with their Legislative Assistant, or if no one answers the phone, leave a voicemail.
Also, be sure to tell them you are one of their constituents. You might even tell them your address to verify.
BUT DON’T WAIT, CALL RIGHT AWAY!!!!
You have a significant opportunity to contribute to saving as many as 25,000 lives from abortion.
ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN, IF YOU DON’T CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR, FEWER LIVES WILL LIKELY BE SAVED.
If you don’t know who represents you in the North Carolina House and Senate, go to this link to find out and get their contact information: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators
Finally, don’t forget the most important thing that you can do. Pray! Pray! Pray! We must plant and water, but God alone gives the increase.