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Learn about the exceptions for the new NC abortion bill and which neighboring states have looser laws



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A bill limiting abortion access is now law in North Carolina, but it doesn’t go into effect until this summer.  

Until then women can continue to receive abortion care through the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy. 

Starting July 1, North Carolina’s current abortion law, with a 20-week deadline, will be repealed and replaced with the 12-week abortion ban. There are exceptions:

  • In cases of rape or incest, women can get an abortion through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • In cases of a life-limiting fetal anomaly, the term extends through the first 24 weeks.
  • And in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, there’s no limit on abortion access. 

Women will also be required to speak to a counselor in person, at least once, 72 hours before getting the abortion. 

Fast forward to Oct. 1, when a whole new portion of the law goes into effect. This new portion includes new requirements that all surgical abortions after 12 weeks, outside of the law’s exceptions, have to be performed in a hospital. Further, abortion clinics are required to be re-licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services in order to operate. 

Calla Hales is the director of one of the largest abortion clinics in Charlotte, A Preferred Women’s Health Center. Hales thinks the re-licensing portion of the law could severely impact clinic operations.  

“Between now and October first, some committee is going to be put together to review and possibly change the regulations and requirements for certification,” Hales said. “Which could cause potentially some clinics to close, while they have come to compliance, or close because they can’t afford to come to compliance depending on what it is.” 

And finally, the last portion of this new law goes into effect Dec. 1 and expands the list of crimes that subject someone to satellite-based monitoring.  

So let’s say July 2 rolls around, and a woman is beyond 12 weeks’ pregnant — Where can they go to receive abortion access beyond North Carolina’s state line? QCN did some digging and found out Virginia is their next best bet.  

Laws in Virginia allow abortions through 26 weeks and six days, and include exceptions when the mother’s physical or mental health is at stake. If Virginia is too far, South Carolina’s abortion law is still currently at 21 weeks and six days, but that is subject to change. 

A six-week ban is currently being fought in the state’s courts, and could be implemented in the coming months. As for Georgia and Tennessee, you’re better off staying here in North Carolina. Georgia has a six-week ban in place, and Tennessee has a total ban with very limited exceptions. 

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