Media Contact

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Media Office: [email protected] 
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Media Office: [email protected] 
American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Media Office: [email protected] 
American Civil Liberties Union: [email protected] 

June 6, 2024

GREENSBORO – Earlier today, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina held a summary judgment hearing in an ongoing legal challenge to several provisions of the state’s abortion ban that took effect last year. 

At today’s hearing, counsel for the plaintiffs—Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Dr. Beverly Gray—argued before Chief Judge Catherine Eagles, asking her to permanently enjoin two provisions of Senate Bill 20, which banned almost all abortions in North Carolina after the 12th week of pregnancy when it took effect in July 2023. Both provisions have been enjoined since September of last year when Chief Judge Eagles granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in the case.

The first provision requires that any abortion provided after the 12th week of pregnancy under one of the ban’s exceptions (in cases of rape or incest, or life-limiting fetal anomaly) must be provided in a hospital— prohibiting them from being performed in outpatient clinic settings, where abortions are currently performed just as safely as in hospitals. The second challenged provision demands that physicians document the “probable gestational age and existence of an intrauterine pregnancy" before providing a medication abortion— but leaves physicians without any guidance as to how to satisfy this requirement, and potentially even bans medication abortion in the earliest stages of pregnancy, when a pregnancy cannot yet be detected by ultrasound. 

Both of these restrictions threaten to shrink the already extremely narrow window when abortion remains available in North Carolina. As it stands, North Carolina is the closest state where abortion is available past six weeks of pregnancy for thousands of patients across the South.

Statement from Jenny Black, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic:

“We’re grateful to have had our day in court to demonstrate that these politically-motivated restrictions in Senate Bill 20 are unlawful and contrary to established medical evidence and patient safety data. These dangerous barriers were concocted by anti-abortion legislators hellbent on blocking access to abortion and making care more difficult to access for patients. 

“Restrictions like these make no sense. They worsen the reproductive health crisis in North Carolina and disproportionately harm patients in extremely difficult circumstances and those who face inordinate barriers in accessing abortion care, including people of color, people who live in rural parts of the state, and people with low incomes. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic remains committed to helping every patient navigate the unjust and inhumane confines of this law as we continue to fight for the reproductive freedom of all North Carolinians.”

Statement from Kristi Graunke, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina:

“North Carolinians deserve the right to make decisions about their own bodies, full stop. Lawmakers have gone out of their way to create additional barriers to abortion access for victims of sexual assault and those seeking early abortion care, despite no evidence that these restrictions will make patients safer. This case is one way the ACLU of North Carolina is pushing back against these harmful bans. We will continue to advocate for reproductive freedom in North Carolina and strive to secure and protect abortion access for all.”