• 77°

Judge: Suit challenging NC abortion regulations can continue

By Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press

A lawsuit filed by abortion providers and an abortion-rights group challenging several North Carolina laws restricting and regulating the procedure can continue, a state judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt refused last week motions by Republican legislative leaders, district attorneys and state health officials to dismiss the lawsuit filed last September against them in Wake County court.

The litigation by Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, other abortion clinics, several medical professionals and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective in Asheville contend the laws violate the constitutional rights of equality and due process.

A three-judge panel will hear the case going forward because the litigation seeks to have the laws declared as violating the state constitution. Those judges, yet named by Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, also will consider other outstanding dismissal arguments and would preside over any trial.

The plaintiffs argued before Holt that their challenges warranted the judicial branch to step in, and that abortion providers had suffered “direct injury” to have legal standing to sue. A hearing on the motions was held in March.

“The constitutional challenges asserted in plaintiffs’ complaint present a justiciable issue, as distinguished from a non-justiciable political question,” Holt wrote in her ruling dated May 28.

Lawyers for the legislative leaders who were sued argued the plaintiffs had not established direct injury, and that the General Assembly is permitted to regulate the practice of medicine. State attorneys representing local district attorneys and state health officials also have said their clients had not taken any recent steps to enforce the five laws that the lawsuit challenges.

The plaintiffs have challenged a 72-hour waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion and a law permitting only a “qualified physician” to perform the procedure. They also are fighting a ban on virtual appointments to receive a medication-induced abortion, requirements approved in 2011 that certain information be presented to a pregnant woman, and regulations placed upon clinics the plaintiffs say prevent abortion access.

The lawsuit marks another legal challenge to North Carolina’s abortion laws, which have been grown incrementally restrictive since Republicans took over the General Assembly in 2011.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently weighing a lower court decision that declared the state’s abortion ban after 20 weeks of gestation unconstitutional. The same appeals court previously struck down a portion of a 2011 state law that told abortion providers to show and describe an ultrasound to the pregnant woman.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Federal appeals court upholds North Carolina man’s conviction for threatening tweet

NC Senate nixes DEQ secretary, Cooper rehires her as clean energy director

News

Several speak out against mask requirements at Dare County Schools

News

Federal appeals court refuses to reinstate North Carolina abortion ban

Crime

North Carolina man accused of firing at police substation charged in deaths of family members

News

North Carolina tax revenue soars, $6.5 billion windfall predicted by mid-2023

Currituck

Currituck County wreck results in injuries

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 months in prison for firearm charge

Crime

North Carolina man already jailed for other offense charged in fatal crash

Crime

Man with guns in car on campus of UNC-Chapel Hill arrested

Crime

Virginia man arrested for drug charges after Kill Devil Hills traffic stop

Lifestyles

Outer Banks Community Foundation prepares for 2021 hurricane season, seeks donations

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to over 17 years in prison for cocaine distribution

News

Bill expanding access to North Carolina government worker information clears Senate

News

‘Poolside Pests’ program encourages pool owners to look for, report nonnative insects

News

Kitty Hawk moves closer to new police, fire/EMS substation

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 30 years in prison for producing child pornography

Hyde

Mattamuskeet Early College High School’s Class of 2021

Lifestyles

Manteo student raising puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 10 years in prison for firearm charge

News

Weekly gas price update for North Carolina

News

Piers of the Outer Banks: Rodanthe Pier

Lifestyles

Juneteenth celebration set at Cookhouse Museum

News

Hearing set for proposed Manteo zoning map

News

Water flows again in Avon; boil water advisory in effect

Lifestyles

Dare Day postponed until next year