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Statement from Democracy NC on the passage of Senate Bill 20

Morrisville, N.C. (5/5/2023) – In stunning and rapid fashion, the North Carolina legislature pushed through a monster abortion bill this week, which will now head to Governor Cooper’s desk.

Senate Bill 20, a 46-page document that was provided to the public and lawmakers not even 12 hours before its initial review, will ban abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions (among other restrictions). S20 emerged from an unrelated bill and was then announced as a “conference committee report,” which cannot be amended. In bypassing normal procedures, lawmakers restricted opportunity for public comment, all but abandoning the democratic process.

Cheryl Carter and Adrienne Kelly, Co-Executive Directors of Democracy North Carolina, released this statement following the Senate passage of S20, which will fall hardest on struggling North Carolinians, those without access to affordable health care, rural communities, and people of color.

“As we saw last summer in the stunning reversal of Roe v. Wade, the deep connections between reproductive rights and democratic freedoms are now on full display at our state level. The abhorrent lack of democratic process displayed by North Carolina lawmakers this week in shoving through this monster law without opportunity for public input – let alone enough time for even fellow lawmakers to review the law’s specifics – should leave little doubt in the matter. Cloaked in the dark of night, lawmakers bent the law to their will at every turn, pushing their own agenda rather than the needs and priorities of the people. So much was procedurally wrong outside of what is, to many, morally wrong about legislation that threatens the autonomy and safety of many North Carolinians, particularly people of color and those without access to affordable health care.

We know that abortion is a deeply personal and sensitive issue. There has never been a call for every person in our nation to feel one way about it or another because of the acutely personal and private nature of the issue. What there has been a call for is a right to bodily autonomy; for individuals to be able to make the best determination for themselves and their families when it comes to personal health matters; for safe and affordable access to health care and treatment; and, at the bare minimum, for a democratic process to determine the law of the land, preferably one not spearheaded by legislators whose central stake in the fight is to seemingly oppress and exert their will.”


Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all.