North Dakota Supreme Court Blocks Law Criminalizing Abortion Services
The North Dakota Supreme Court upheld an injunction on Thursday against the state’s proposed ban on abortion. The court found that the law violated the state’s constitution, and the guaranteed “right of enjoying and defending life and pursuing and obtaining safety.”
The law was crafted as a “trigger law” set to take effect after the repeal of Roe v. Wade, but was placed under a preliminary injunction in October by Judge Bruce Romanick, who cited a “substantial probability” that the law would face constitutional challenges. As of now, abortion remains legal in the state up to 22 weeks of gestation.
In the majority opinion issued by the state’s Supreme Court, Chief Justice Jon J. Jensen wrote that “while the regulation of abortion is within the authority of the legislature under the North Dakota Constitution,” the plaintiff had demonstrated, “that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in the limited instances of life-saving and health-preserving circumstances, and the statute is not narrowly tailored to satisfy strict scrutiny.”
That plaintiff is the Red River Women’s Clinic (RRWC), the state’s only abortion provider, and the party attempting to make sure that abortion remains legal in the state. Despite the legal challenges against the ban, the RRWC was forced to move its clinic in Fargo across the state border to Minnesota in order to continue serving the region.
In a statement, Republican North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley accused the state’s Supreme Court of having “taken on the role of a legislative body, a role our constitution does not afford them.” Wrigley promised that more legislation was coming, adding that “our legislature has spent the past two months working on legislation that recrafts North Dakota’s abortion laws, and they will now have the opportunity to enact the will of North Dakotans.”
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