To the editor:

In the coming days Gov. Roy Cooper will veto Senate Bill 20, the harmful abortion ban (yes, it IS a ban) that was rushed through the legislature with little notice or public input. Supporters of this bill apparently think they know what is best for pregnant North Carolinians and are undeterred by the fact that the North Carolina Medical Society, North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, and North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians have all opposed this bill. Supporters of this bill would undoubtedly argue that its intention is to save “unborn children.” Indeed, the phrase “unborn child” appears 47 times in the text of the bill even though this phrase is not appropriate medical terminology. But what if there were a compassionate way to “save unborn children” that did not violate the liberties of pregnant people or restrict medical professionals from providing the best care according to their training? Here’s a novel idea: Let’s craft evidence-based policies to reduce exposure to air pollution, pesticides, and PFAS (i.e., forever chemicals), all of which are associated with elevated miscarriage rates, according to peer-reviewed studies. Not only would such policies be compassionate to both pregnant people and their “unborn children,” but they would have the added benefit of improving health outcomes for “born children” and adults as well. Environmental justice initiatives like these would take time, but in the meantime we can encourage our lawmakers to sustain Gov. Cooper’s veto and let them know there are better ways to “save the unborn.”