RALEIGH, North Carolina -- The Supreme Court said it will hear oral arguments next Monday related to a controversial Texas abortion law.
For now, the state's six-week abortion ban remains in effect, but advocates in North Carolina say they'e watching the case closely, and are bracing for copycat laws.
Tara Romano, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said the court will look at whether the U.S. Justice Department and abortion providers can continue to legally challenge the law.
"And we, of course, have heard of other states saying that they are looking at the Texas law and considering doing very much a copycat law of that in their state," Romano pointed out.
Signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year, Senate Bill 8 bans abortions at six weeks of gestation, when many women do not realize they are pregnant and without exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or individuals who help a patient obtain the procedure.
Romano noted North Carolina advocates have been able to hold the line and prevent any new restrictions from being passed since 2017, but she added the state continues to rank poorly when it comes to abortion access.
"Because of the number of restrictions we have and the fact that we have a majority of lawmakers within the General Assembly who are opposed to abortion," Romano explained.
Romano argued the Texas law has only increased panic and desperation among thousands of women in the state, who must now travel long distances to end their pregnancies.
"Banning abortion is not going to stop people from seeking out an abortion," Romano asserted. "And so people are continuing to do that in Texas."
An analysis by the Guttmacher Institute found the new Texas law increased the driving distance for women seeking abortions from 17 miles to 247 miles, because they now have to seek care out of state.
Source: North Carolina News Service