U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban on Wednesday.
Judge Osteen wrote, “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.”
Abortions in North Carolina are no longer legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, eroding protections in one of the South’s few remaining safe havens for reproductive freedom.
U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated an unenforced 20-week abortion ban, with exceptions for urgent medical emergencies, after he said the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade erased the legal foundation for his 2019 ruling that placed an injunction on the 1973 state 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,” wrote Osteen, who was appointed to the court by Republican President George W. Bush.
Pro-Life advocates praised the decision.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday he is “encouraged that, although our attorney general has failed to do his duty, today we have a ruling that upholds the law.”
“With Roe vs. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court, the legal basis for the injunction was no longer existent, and the people’s determination of abortion policy through their elected representatives in the General Assembly was restored,” Tami Fitzgerald, the head of the anti-abortion group North Carolina Values Coalition, said in a statement.
The North Carolina law bans abortion at 20 weeks with exceptions for urgent medical emergencies.