Lilly Knoepp

The Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday from Mississippi challenging Roe vs. Wade.  BPR looks at the level of abortion access currently in Western North Carolina. 

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Molly Rivera says there isn’t access to abortion in the majority of North Carolina.

“In North Carolina, 91 percent of counties in our state do not have an abortion provider,” said Rivera.

The only abortion provider in Western North Carolina is a Planned Parenthood location in Asheville.

North Carolina Courts

North Carolina's ban on most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy must remain unenforceable, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday, rejecting arguments that the law should be left intact because prosecutors aren't going after doctors who violate it.

North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill to make it illegal for physicians to perform abortions because of the fetus' race or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper vetoed a bill last week dealing with care for babies born after attempted abortions.  His decision sets up the first showdown in Raleigh over veto overrides since the governor's fellow Democrats gained more seats in the General Assembly in last fall's election, ending the ability of majority Republicans to override Cooper vetoes through party line votes.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a measure Thursday written by Republicans and backed by social conservatives that addresses a doctor's responsibilities if a later-term abortion results in an infant born alive.

Cooper announced his decision two days after the General Assembly sent him a measure telling health care practitioners to grant those newborns the same protections as other patients. Those who don't could face a felony and active prison time, along with fines and potential civil damages.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's legislature gave final passage Tuesday to a bill to require doctors and nurses to care for babies born alive during a failed late-term abortion or face big penalties, a measure opponents deemed legally unnecessary and a threat to abortion providers.

House lawmakers followed a day after Senate counterparts in approving the bill, which would mean prison time and big fines for medical practitioners who don't give children born despite a botched abortion the same protections as any other newborn.

“This is something that just doesn’t happen. It is being deliberately mischaracterized to shame women and to make a court case to overturn Roe V. Wade.” - Buncombe County Democratic state senator Terry Van Duyn during Senate Judiciary Committee's heated debate over SB 359

Updated at 11 a.m., May 22, 2017

State lawmakers were handed their latest legal defeat Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two of the state's congressional districts because race played too large a role in their creation. Since 2011, more than a dozen Republican-backed bills have been struck down in federal and state courts.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Employees of Montreat College are speaking out against a covenant that includes anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion language.  The college is requiring employees to sign it and some have chosen to resign.  Several of them told us why. 

North Carolina's abortion rate has inched up since 2011, even as the national rate continues a long and steady decline, according to new figures released by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion.


Abortion-right advocates remain suspicious of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory about protecting access to the procedure and want him to know they're still watching his actions.

The activists say they'll deliver Tuesday to McCrory's office a petition telling him he should stop enacting what they call unnecessary barriers to safe and legal abortions. The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is assembling the event.

North Carolina passed an abortion law in 2013 with similar language to what the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this week in Texas. But the implementation has been different here.


North Carolina's governor says he'll sign a bill that would make the state one of several with a 72-hour waiting period for abortions.

The state House gave final approval to the bill Wednesday, sending it to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.

McCrory issued a statement several hours later saying that he's pleased with how the bill developed in the legislature over the past few days.

The bill adds other rules for doctors and clinics that perform abortions and includes several unrelated criminal justice measures.


Updated Monday 8:36 pm:

The Senate has given its final approval to additional rules surrounding abortion in North Carolina, primarily one extending the waiting period for a woman to obtain the procedure from 24 hours to 72.

The Republican-led chamber voted 32-16 largely along party lines Monday night in favor of the bill after agreement on two amendments. The bill also requires doctors to provide more data to state regulators about certain second trimester abortions and makes clear abortion clinics will be inspected annually.

Emily Jan/NPR

Updated 11:09 PM Wednesday:

Two controversial bills: one concerning gay marriage, the other abortion, are closer to becoming law after votes Wednesday.

North Carolina legislators are nearing final approval on legislation allowing some North Carolina court officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections.


Abortion-rights advocates have returned to the Executive Mansion to urge North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to block a bill that would extend the waiting period for the procedure from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Representatives of Planned Parenthood and other groups held a news conference Monday across from the governor's home. The measure approved by the House and now in the Senate also requires doctors to give regulators more details about certain abortions performed.

In Their Words: Sen. Ralph Hise

May 5, 2015
Jasmin Singh/northcarolinahealthnews.org

WCQS has been speaking with area lawmakers over the past few weeks in an effort to bring you their views, in their words.  You can find links to other conversations at the bottom of this article.  Today we're focusing on Senator Ralph Hise, a Republican of Spruce Pine.  Hise's district spans six counties in western North Carolina: Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, and Yancey.  He took the time out of a busy schedule to speak with us.  Due to that schedule, the conversation unfortunately had to be far shorter than our previous talks with lawmakers, and so this one is more narrow

In Their Words: Rep. Chuck McGrady

Apr 28, 2015
The News & Observer of Raleigh

We’ve been talking with area legislators over the past few weeks.  It’s part of an effort to bring you their views, in their words.  Today the focus is on Representative Chuck McGrady, Republican of Henderson County.  On a day when McGrady was preparing for a busy week known as "crossover" - in which most bills have to pass one chamber and "cross over" in order to be considered still alive this session - he took the time to speak with us about issues ranging from taxes, politics, the environment, social issues, and more.  The full conversation is above.  Below are some parts of the intervie


 The North Carolina House has decided it wants to extend the time a pregnant woman must wait before having an abortion from 24 hours after contacting a provider to 72 hours.

The House voted 74-45 Thursday to expand the waiting period before women can undergo the procedure. The passage followed an emotional but civil debate about the issue that's gotten more attention from the Republican-led legislature over the past four years.


Women would have to wait longer in North Carolina before obtaining an abortion in a bill that a House committee is recommending.

A woman now must wait 24 hours after receiving information in person or over the phone from an abortion provider before having the procedure. The House Health Committee recommended a bill Wednesday expanding the waiting period to 72 hours.

Sponsor Rep. Susan Martin of Wilson says the measure is designed to protect the health of women but give them time and information to make an informed decision.

Corey Lowenstein/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images via Huffington Post

Republicans at the North Carolina legislature want to add to the state's abortion rules by extending the waiting period and scaling back when workers at two public medical schools can perform them.

The House Health Committee was slated Wednesday to hear a measure that's being opposed by abortion-rights advocates.

In Their Words: Rep. Joe Sam Queen

Apr 14, 2015

We’ve been hearing from area lawmakers over the past week.  Many were home last week for their version of spring break and that gave us a chance to speak with many of them.  Today we hear from Joe Sam Queen.  He’s a Democrat representing Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties in the state House. 

Area Democrats are not backing down on their call for the state to expand Medicaid, something the Republican-led General Assembly has refused to do.   Queen says North Carolinians are already footing the bill.

In Their Words: Rep. Susan Fisher

Apr 13, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

We’ve been talking with area lawmakers over the past week as many were home for a week-long recess last week.  Today we’re focusing on an interview with Representative Susan Fisher, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  Here are some highlights: 

In the segment below, Fisher talks about a new proposal in the legislature dealing with abortion.  It would mandate a 72 hour waiting period for a woman to have an abortion and would bar UNC or ECU’s medical schools from teaching or providing the procedure.  Fisher opposes the bill.

In Their Words: Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Apr 9, 2015
Mountain XPress

We’re hearing from state legislators this week who are home for a week-long recess.  WCQS reached out to members of both parties and is airing the interviews in the order they were conducted.  Today the focus is on Terry Van Duyn, a Democratic State Senator of Buncombe County.  We spoke on a range of issues, from the economy and jobs to bills dealing with social issues, which Van Duyn has been an outspoken critic of.

In Their Words: Rep. Brian Turner

Apr 8, 2015
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

This week, state lawmakers are on their version of spring break, and many local legislators are home.  That gave us an opportunity to sit down and talk about the current session with many of them.  We reached out to members of both parties, and will air excerpts from the interviews in the order they were conducted.  We start today with Representative Brian Turner.  He’s a Democrat representing Buncombe County.  The first-term legislator scored an upset win over Tim Moffitt in November’s election, one among just a few bright spots for Democrats in an otherwise tough election cycle.   

Corey Lowenstein/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images via Huffington Post

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to place more restrictions upon abortion — particularly who can perform them and how long a woman must wait before undergoing the procedure.

The House measure filed Wednesday by four Republicans comes on top of changes to abortion laws in 2011 and 2013 approved by the GOP-led legislature.

Rep. Susan Fisher Says Protect Abortion Care

Jan 30, 2015
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

Abortion-rights groups are worried that Republican legislators will try to override rules proposed for North Carolina abortion clinics that activists contend balance patient safety with access to the procedure.