Ford details long road to getting NC abortion ban passed

Published 12:05 am Saturday, May 20, 2023

RALEIGH — The “Care for Women, Children and Families Act,” which bans most abortions after 12 weeks in North Carolina, was passed into law Tuesday after Sen. Carl Ford, a sponsor of the bill, and his fellow Republicans were successful in overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto in both the House and the Senate.

In a phone interview on Friday, Rowan County’s state senator said he and other legislators had been working on the bill for “a couple years” but knew there was no chance getting it passed because they didn’t have the super-majority to override the governor’s veto until this year. Things got more intense when the current session in the General Assembly got under way in January and the Republican’s super-majority was within reach as Ford focused on “trying to get things right and trying to get everybody on board.”

He knew the bill was going to spark long debates on the Senate floor and he knew the governor was going to veto the bill. When Cooper finally did veto the bill on May 13, Ford said it was “a little nerve-wracking” when the General Assembly convened and got ready to vote on the override. But Ford said he and other legislators were encouraged as the vote got under way because the Senate gallery was filled with pro-life supporters from across the state who drove up to Raleigh to watch.

Posting on his Facebook page after the bill finally passed, Ford said “Thank you Lord, the Governor’s veto on pro life legislation was tossed! Thank you to the bus loads of Christians who came to Raleigh to support and pray!”

The bill has multiple parts, including changes to health care standards, increasing criminal punishment for illegal abortions and crimes against pregnant women, and allocating millions of dollars in financial provisions for health care and social services. There are also exceptions to the 12-week rule: In cases of rape or incest, women can get an abortion through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. In cases of a life-limiting fetal anomaly, the term extends through the first 24 weeks. And in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, there’s no limit on abortion access. While he was happy with the bill, Ford did say he wished “we were saving more lives.”

“There are an awful lot that believe that life begins at conception or at fertilization whatever the case may be. That’s when life begins because we’re believers of the Bible. The Bible talks about God knowing us before he formed us in the belly,” Ford said. “So, the bill’s great. Could it be better in my opinion? Yes. But it’s great, we’re saving little babies’ lives and any time you do that it’s great.”

Ford also mentioned the bill is “putting our money where our mouth is” by providing more funds to support future mothers, as well as childcare and pregnancy centers and other organizations that provide support for prenatal and family care.

“And now the government will help them more than ever before,” Ford said. “The whole bill is great and like I said I wish we could’ve gone a little bit farther and saved more babies, but I’ll take what I can get and I’m extremely happy about getting this done.”

To his constituents who support the bill, Ford said it felt very rewarding to get it passed and more rewards will continue to come because more babies will be born. He didn’t have much to say to those who were against the bill, admitting that there was a part of him who doesn’t understand “why we wouldn’t want to save babies.”

Rep. Kevin Crutchfield, who represents both Rowan and Cabarrus counties, was also overjoyed when the bill finally passed. He previously told the Post that pro-life legislation was a top priority for him as he continues his first term in office. In an email sent to the Post on Friday, Crutchfield spoke about how raising his children and grandchildren impacted his pro-life beliefs even more and how the overturning of Roe v. Wade inspired him to run for office.

“Senate Bill 20 is the most comprehensive pro-life legislation in my lifetime and likely in the history of North Carolina. I was truly humbled and honored to cast my vote. Moving our societal thoughts in a pro-life direction may in fact be the most significant event of my lifetime,” Crutchfield said.

The bill is set to take effect July 1.