I’m not ready to have kids.

Sure, I’m about to turn 31, and by the time my mom was my age, she had already had both me and my sister. But I’m just not ready.

I’m focused on my career. I worry about what it will do to us financially. We would have to move (our house is definitely too small for another human). I worry about passing down some of my not-so-great traits to future kids. I want to travel more.

And all of that is okay, because I’m choosing to live without kids for now.

But on Tuesday evening, Republican lawmakers in the NC legislature just took that choice away for thousands more people after overriding Gov. Cooper’s veto of SB 20, or the anti-abortion bill, now law, that makes abortions illegal after 12 weeks.

Formerly, NC allowed abortions up to 20 weeks. With the passage of SB 20, that timeline is cut short by two months, making that decision window for parents even smaller.

Here are some of the facts about the law which will mostly go into effect on July 1:

  • Medication abortion access will be cut after 10 weeks of pregnancy (formerly 11 weeks)
  • Patients will have to have at least two, and potentially three, in-person visits for a medication abortion despite the fact that the FDA allows medication abortions to be prescribed via telehealth
  • The new law imposes new, medically unnecessary rules on clinics 
  • It forces patients to listen to state-mandated, non-scientific, anti-abortion counseling prior to access
  • Requires physicians to perform an ultrasound on the patient and describe the image to the patient

All of these measures, in addition to the restriction of the timeframe, decreases choice for so many people in the state. As has been heavily reported since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, North Carolina was one of the last havens in the South for abortion access. Our status is quickly eroding.

According to a report released in December 2022 by the research foundation Commonwealth Fund, states that have restricted access to abortion services saw maternal death rates in 2020 rise 62 percent higher than in states that preserved access. Between 2018 and 2020, the maternal death rate increased twice as fast in states that now have abortion restrictions.

If I were to accidentally get pregnant now, I would have the means to travel out of state if I needed to access an abortion; that’s a privilege. But many people do not. And that’s going to lead to unnecessary deaths — deaths that will be on the hands of these legislators who care not for the lives of people who will be directly impacted by their careless, heartless actions.

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