This federal lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of two North Dakota laws that compel physicians and other members of the care team to provide patients with false, misleading, non-medical information about reproductive health.The suit was filed on June 25, 2019 in the United States District Court, District of North Dakota. It asks the court to block enforcement of North Dakota’s compelled speech laws, which would inflict irreparable harm on patients and force physicians to violate their obligation to give honest and informed advice.
The two laws being challenged would force physicians to misinform their patients that medication abortion may be “reversible,” which is contrary to science, and require that physicians convey ideological government-mandated messages that are false or misleading:
- H.B. 1336, which was passed earlier this year and is scheduled to take effect August 1, 2019. This law would force physicians to tell patients that a medication abortion may be “reversed”—a patently false and unproven claim unsupported by scientific evidence. Under this law, doctors must also give patients government-scripted information on where to find a medical professional who will provide an experimental and unethical treatment to “reverse” an abortion—a treatment that is already seemingly prohibited by North Dakota law.
- An existing North Dakota law that forces physicians to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being”—a controversial, ideological, and non-medical message – and unconstitutionally forces physicians to act as the mouthpiece of the state
Plaintiff(s): American Medical Association, Red River Women’s Clinic, and Kathryn L. Eggleston, M.D.
Center Attorney(s): Molly Duane, Marc Hearron, Meetra Mehdizadeh, Gail Deady, Alice Wang
The Center filed a complaint in federal court June 25, 2019, challenging a newly-passed North Dakota law that would require physicians to tell patients seeking abortions that it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion and a 2009 law that requires physicians tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” On September 10, the district court granted a preliminary injunction blocking the “reversal” law while the case proceeds. The case is currently in discovery.
- Order Granting Preliminary Injunction, 09.10.19
- Plaintiffs Reply in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction, 07.31.19
- Motion for Preliminary Injunction, 06.25.19
- Complaint, 06.25.19