August 19, 2022

Federal Judge Reinstates North Carolina 20-Week Abortion Ban

On August 17, Federal District Judge William Osteen reinstated a North Carolina law banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation.

Osteen ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on Supreme Court precedent in 2019. That decision was later upheld by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. After the US Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, however, that precedent no longer stands.

“Under Dobbs, there is now no constitutional right to a pre-viability abortion, thus depriving the injunction of any constitutional basis from which to enjoin the challenged North Carolina laws regulating abortion,” Osteen wrote

Osteen disagreed with parties who argued lifting the injunction would create confusion.
“...leaving the injunction in place wrongfully heightens confusion because to do so is misleading as to the effect of Dobbs. If, as Plaintiffs argue, [abortion] providers are providing services in accordance with the terms of the injunction…, then those providers are acting contrary to North Carolina law. Neither this court, nor the public, nor counsel, nor providers have the right to ignore the rule of law as determined by the Supreme Court.”

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