North Carolina Governor Goes Against Wishes of Constituents, Vetoes Born-Alive Bill

May 2, 2019 Updated: May 2, 2019


Recently, North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the state legislature’s born-alive bill—despite the fact that the state House and the Senate are Republican-controlled.

Cooper’s veto comes at a time when abortions are declining, yet the debate about life continues to create controversy at the state and federal level alike. Cooper’s unwillingness to honor the wishes of North Carolina’s constituents shows just how obsessed Democrats are with abortion, an issue that remains paramount to their platform, under the guise of “reproductive rights.”

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, originally sponsored by Republican lawmakers, would have required doctors to try to preserve the life of any baby born alive following an abortion attempt.

The bill proposed that any health care practitioner who aided in an abortion attempt would be required to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonable diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” If health care professionals didn’t do that, they would be guilty of a class D felony.

The bill was widely supported by Republicans and a few stray Democrats. The state Senate passed the bill in a 28–19 vote; the House backed it by a vote of 65–46. Still, Cooper vetoed it.

In a letter announcing his veto, Cooper wrote that laws “already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their parents.”

To override the veto, North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers need a three-fifths majority. One Democrat who originally voted for the measure, Sen. Ben Clark, announced he would now vote with the governor to sustain the veto, but with all 50 senators present on April 30, only one Democrat vote was needed to override the veto. Thanks to Sen. Don Davis, the veto was overridden in the Senate 30–20. Now, the House needs to vote.


Two of the born-alive bill’s primary sponsors, Republican Sen. Joyce Krawiec and Rep. Pat McElraft, said in a joint statement, according to CNN affiliate WRAL, that “caring for a living, breathing newborn infant is too restrictive for Governor Cooper’s radical abortion agenda.”

Indeed, this veto demonstrates several things about political points, the abortion debate, and the importance of valuing life in a societal makeup.

Cooper’s claim that the bill is simply redundant and therefore unnecessary is a straw man claim. This law specifically stated how to handle babies post-abortion; that’s why Cooper didn’t touch it. Not to mention, every state in the Union has passed redundant, even silly, measures—that doesn’t keep them from being signed.

Cooper’s personal opinions about abortion aside, by vetoing the bill, he turns a blind eye to his constituents, the very people who voted for the legislators who passed the bill in both chambers. Politicians aren’t in office to be lone dictators but to represent the will of the people—this bill to protect babies was clearly the will of the people of North Carolina, by a majority.

Despite the fact that abortion rates have been declining for years and more and more abortion clinics are shutting down—at least 40 abortion clinics closed or stopped offering abortions in 2018—abortion remains ever an exclusive political gem, however ghoulish. For Democrats, abortion at once provides fundraising, political platforms, fuel against Republicans, and a sense of fighting for a woman’s “reproductive rights.” Has there ever been one issue that accomplishes so many things while also maintaining an ability to be utterly devastating to the societal fabric of this country?

Abortion, or passing a provision protecting babies who survive an abortion, is not simply about the procedure itself but is a way to deflect from encouraging Americans to adopt a culture that values life. By vetoing the born-alive bill, Cooper doesn’t just hurt babies who have survived abortions, he also promulgates the idea that abortion is no longer “safe, legal, and rare,” but normal, preferred, and common. Nothing should be further from the truth and in fact, abortion is becoming increasingly rare, as more and more states pass “heartbeat” laws.

Cooper’s decision to veto is a sure demonstration of the power of abortion to Democrats, as an issue, a strategy, a fundraising tool, and a signal of their strength as a progressive party, willing to subvert the will of the people to coerce society into accepting a culture of death.

Nicole Russell is a freelance writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Politico, The Daily Beast, and the Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.