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North Carolina legislative leaders intervene in court to defend state restrictions on abortion pills

by | Mar 8, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

It was no surprise that pro-abortion Attorney General Josh Stein said he would not defend North Carolina’s law that require a woman to make an in-person visit to obtain mifepristone, the first of two drugs making up the chemical abortion technique, and wait 72 hours before receiving the abortion pill.

However, on first glance it might seem odd that Stein would not oppose the intervention of  Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore  who, in filing papers federal court, said “someone must be in place to rigorously defend state abortion laws.” But in fact “state law permits the arrangement by granting standing to the speaker of the house and president pro tempore,” Sam Dorman reported. Stein was not being gracious; the law allows the pro-leaders to defend the law they helped pass.

“The Legislative Leaders have an interest in upholding the validity of state statutes aimed at protecting unborn life, promoting maternal health and safety, and regulating the medical profession, “ according to the motion from lawmakers’ attorneys. “North Carolina law designates the Legislative Leaders as agents of the State for the purpose of intervening to defend these statutes. Routine application of recent Supreme Court precedent should make this a fairly simple issue.”

The motion goes on to say “This action seeks to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by usurping the authority of the people of North Carolina, acting through their elected representatives, to reasonably regulate abortion in their state. It does so by challenging several commonsense health-and-safety laws that have been on the books for years, based on a new and incorrect argument that the FDA’s decision to permit chemical abortion drugs to be marketed under certain conditions means that states cannot enact their own laws regulating the safety of chemical abortion for their citizens.”

In January, Dr. Amy Bryant, an abortionist, sued Stein, a district attorney, and state health and medical officials,” Gary Robertson wrote for the Associated Press.  She claimed “that state laws and rules conflict with her ability to provide mifepristone to patients,” and, moreover, that “those restrictions should be preempted by the powers that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received from Congress to regulate the drug.”

Ellis Boyle, an attorney representing the lawmakers, wrote that North Carolina’s abortion regulations apply “with equal force to both surgical and chemical abortion procedures.” Bryant’s argument would mean states “cannot enact their own laws regulating the safety of chemical abortion for their citizens,” according to the AP’s Robertson.

Categories: State Legislation
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