Governor Cooper signs Executive Order to help protect women’s access to reproductive health care
Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022
RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper today (Wednesday) signed an Executive Order that takes several steps to defend access to reproductive health services in North Carolina.
“The Supreme Court ripped away the constitutional right to reproductive freedom that women have relied on for five decades,” said Governor Cooper. “For now, it’s up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina they still can, thanks to my veto and enough legislative votes to sustain it. I am determined to keep it that way and people need to know that their votes in state legislative races this November will determine the fate of women’s health and freedom in our state.”
“Planned Parenthood Action Fund thanks Governor Cooper for responding to the urgency of this moment,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, North Carolina has become an increasingly critical access point for people traveling for abortion care, including from neighboring South Carolina and Tennessee, where lawmakers in both states have swiftly banned most abortions. Now we must continue to do everything in our power to ensure abortion remains accessible in North Carolina, both for North Carolinians and those forced to flee their own state amid mounting restrictions and cruel bans.”
North Carolina is already seeing an influx of patients coming to the state for safe care. According to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, one third of the patients on their schedule in clinics in North Carolina are from out of state this week. That means there are projected to be at least 10,000 people coming to North Carolina to access reproductive health care services, mostly from states with bans and tighter restrictions. These are just numbers from Planned Parenthood, and do not include estimates from the state’s other providers.
Executive Order 263, signed by the Governor today, helps protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients. It directs Cabinet agencies to coordinate to protect reproductive health care services in North Carolina. As a result of this Order, Cabinet agencies cannot require a pregnant state employee to travel to a state where there are not protections for the health of the pregnant person
Additionally, the Order directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to work with law enforcement to ensure enforcement of a state law that prohibits anyone from blocking access to a health care facility. The Order also provides protections against extradition for those seeking or providing reproductive health care services in North Carolina and prohibits Cabinet agencies from cooperating in investigations initiated by other states into anyone obtaining or providing reproductive health care that is legal North Carolina.