Federal district court judge William Osteen has ruled that North Carolina’s law banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is unconstitutional. Judge Osteen’s ruling is a victory for Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and advocates for reproductive justice.
But that’s not the end of the story. The judge’s ruling gives state lawmakers 60 days to decide whether they will appeal his decision or enact new legislation regarding abortion.
If state lawmakers appeal the decision, the appeals process could take years and the outcome may depend on whether the more conservative US Supreme Court overrules or significantly limits the landmark 1972 decision in Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions involving abortion.
And if state lawmakers decide not to appeal and, instead, pass a new law regarding abortion, supporters of reproductive justice and freedom will need to mobilize quickly over the next two months to let our voices be heard at the state legislature.