As Biden Preps State of the Union, Women’s Health Leaders Decry State of Abortion Rights

In this 2014 file photo, women protest anti-abortion rights laws passed by North Carolina Republicans. With the US Supreme Court expected to undo Roe V. Wade, elections for the state legislature and the governor's office could be enormous in NC. (Shutterstock)

By Billy Ball

February 16, 2022

More than 120 groups, including organizations in North Carolina, urged Biden and Democrats to aggressively pursue federal protections with US Supreme Court considering Texas anti-abortion law.  

When President Biden talks about the state of the nation in two weeks, women’s health leaders want to make sure that access to safe, legal abortions is a top priority.

More than 120 reproductive rights leaders, including groups based in North Carolina, signed a letter ahead of Biden’s March 1 State of the Union Address in Congress saying it is of “paramount importance” for lawmakers to pass the federal protections in the Women’s Health Protection Act

Democrats in the US House of Representatives passed the bill in September, which would provide a federal guarantee of abortion rights, barring states from imposing medically unnecessary restrictions and procedures limiting . It has not gotten a vote in the US Senate because of unanimous GOP opposition, including from North Carolina senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr.

Reproductive health advocates have been pushing for federal protections as the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court prepares to rule this summer on a restrictive Texas law. It would all but ban abortion procedures in the state, regardless of most factors.    

“We are staring down a future where basic access to abortion and other reproductive health care will almost certainly depend on what state you live in,” the coalition wrote in their letter this week. 

As women’s health advocates have noted, a patchwork of abortion laws would disproportionately harm women who can’t afford to travel, particularly rural women of color. 

Right now, there are only 15 facilities that can perform abortions legally in North Carolina, and they are clustered in large metropolitan areas. Women living at a distance have to take time off work and coordinate travel arrangements, an overnight stay and other expenses in order to access services. 

The majority of Americans support abortion rights. North Carolina is no different, but the GOP in this state would likely pursue their own restrictive abortion law in the Republican-controlled legislature. 

The letter included signatures from North Carolina-based organizations such as A Woman’s Choice of Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Jacksonville; and Pro-Choice NC


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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