Cooper signs executive order to help protect reproductive freedom in NC

Published July 7, 2022

By Rob Schofield

Photo: Gov. Cooper’s Twitter feed

In case you missed it, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order today that is designed to help preserve and protect access to reproductive healthcare in the state.

The following is from a news release summarizing the event that was distributed this afternoon by the Governor’s office:

Executive Order 263, signed by the Governor today, helps protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients. It directs Cabinet agencies to coordinate to protect reproductive health care services in North Carolina. As a result of this Order, Cabinet agencies cannot require a pregnant state employee to travel to a state where there are not protections for the health of the pregnant person. It directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to work with law enforcement to ensure enforcement of a state law that prohibits anyone from blocking access to a health care facility. The Order also provides protections against extradition for those seeking or providing reproductive health care services in North Carolina and prohibits Cabinet agencies from cooperating in investigations initiated by other states into anyone obtaining or providing reproductive health care that is legal North Carolina. This Order will help make sure patients get the care they need in North Carolina.

Cooper signed the order in a joint appearance with an array of advocates for reproductive rights, some of whom pointed out that while North Carolina is already serving as a safe haven for women from anti-abortion states looking for care, the situation here remains tenuous as well.

This from the news release:

According to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, one third of the patients on their schedule in clinics in North Carolina are from out of state this week. That means there are projected to be at least 10,000 people coming to North Carolina to access reproductive health care services, mostly from states with bans and tighter restrictions. These are just numbers from Planned Parenthood, and do not include estimates from the state’s other trusted providers.

The release also quoted Jenny Black, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic with the following warning as the state looks to this November’s midterm elections:

Our objective is clear: to keep abortion legal in this state, North Carolinians must elect candidates who will protect access to sexual and reproductive health care at the state level and ensure Governor Cooper has the necessary votes to sustain his veto of the all-out attacks on reproductive freedom that are sure to come. The future of abortion access not only for North Carolinians but potentially the entire Southeast region is on the line in 2022, and we thank Governor Cooper for his strong advocacy in support of reproductive freedom today.

Click here to read the executive order.