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No, North Carolina and South Carolina don't have 'trigger laws' for abortion

In recent years, some state legislatures have passed their own laws to severely restrict abortion access.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's been a week since a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion about abortion was leaked

While the draft didn't have an immediate impact on abortion access for women, it prompted a lot of questions about what would happen if Roe v. Wade was to be overturned.

For nearly five decades, the ruling gave American women the right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment. But that ruling has been picked apart by state legislatures across the country in recent years as they try to limit access to abortion.

So where do the Carolinas stand?


Do North Carolina and South Carolina have so-called "trigger laws" for abortion?


Susan Roberts, political science professor at Davidson College

North and South Carolina state constitutions

Guttmacher Institute


No, North Carolina and South Carolina do not have so-called trigger laws on the books for abortion.


First, it's important to explain what these trigger laws are.

When it comes to abortion, several states have them. You can see the states highlighted in yellow where abortion restrictions would immediately take effect if the court removes the protections Roe vs. Wade provides.

Credit: WCNC

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.

Roberts said trigger laws act as a sort of 'double insurance' for lawmakers who want to restrict or outlaw abortions.

"It's making the conditions so that it would be very difficult to pass pro-choice legislation," said Roberts. "You may not have the federal protection, but you don't have the state protection either."

The Guttmacher Institute reported Kentucky and Louisiana have trigger laws banning abortions or arresting those who perform one. Again, those laws aren't enforced right now because Roe v. Wade continues to be upheld.

Roberts said you can't find anything severe and sweeping that would be considered a trigger law in either North or South Carolina's state constitutions.

"But that doesn't mean, especially in South Carolina, that they could not pass something very, very quickly that would, for all intents and purposes, restrict access to abortion."

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