After the decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health by the U.S. Supreme Court, women in North Carolina are no longer guaranteed a federal constitutional right to abortion. But Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper took executive action Wednesday to ensure state workers under his control do nothing to support challenges to the controversial procedure.
Executive Order 263, released July 6, would apply only to Cabinet agencies under the governor’s authority. It would not apply to other state agencies, such as those controlled by the elected members of the Council of State, the General Assembly, state courts, or local governments.
The order takes a number of steps towards Cooper’s goal:
Section 2 directs cabinet agencies under Cooper’s control to “coordinate with each other and pursue opportunities to protect people or entities who are providing, assisting, seeking, or obtaining lawful reproductive health care services in North Carolina.”
Section 3 says that cabinet agencies cannot help with any civil or criminal investigation surrounding “the provision of, securing of, receipt of, or any inquiry concerning reproductive health care services that are legal in North Carolina.”
Section 4 says that “to the maximum extent permitted” Cooper will use his discretion to “decline requests for the extradition of any person charged with a criminal violation in another state where the violation alleged arises out of the inquiry into, provision of, assistance with, securing of, or receipt of reproductive health care services that are lawful in North Carolina, unless the acts forming the basis of the prosecution of the crime charged would also constitute a criminal offense under North Carolina law.”
Section 5 allows for pregnant Cabinet employees to avoid travel to states that don’t have abortion exceptions for the health of the mother.
Section 6 directs the N.C. Department of Public Safety to work with local law enforcement and with abortion providers to ensure access to clinics.
Cooper was joined by Democrat Party elected officials and Planned Parenthood employees as he made the announcement and signed the order at the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh.