Center for Reproductive Rights calls on Governor Dalrymple to reject patently unconstitutional and dangerous measure
(PRESS RELEASE) Today the North Dakota State Legislature voted to advance the earliest and most extreme abortion ban in the country, which would make the vast majority of abortions illegal after the point at which a fetal heart tone can be detected—as early as six weeks, a time before many women even learn they are pregnant.
HB 1456 passed the House earlier this year and was approved by the Senate today. The measure now heads to Governor Jack Dalrymple’s desk, at which point he will have three legislative days to veto or sign the bill into law.
Earlier this month, the Arkansas legislature overrode Governor Mike Beebe’s veto to enact what was then the nation’s earliest abortion ban at 12 weeks of pregnancy—a law that the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU of Arkansas have committed to challenge in federal court.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, called on Governor Dalrymple immediately to reject the bill:
“North Dakota politicians are now leading what appears to be a nationwide competition among anti-choice extremists to see who can do the most to strip women of their dignity and autonomy and endanger their lives.
“The passage of this law is nothing short of a frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution, 40 years of Supreme Court precedent, and the health and fundamental rights of women.
“This will not stand. We strongly urge Governor Dalrymple to protect the rights and health of the women of North Dakota by vetoing this noxious and dangerous bill.”
The North Dakota Senate also voted to send HB 1305 to Governor Darymple’s desk, another unconstitutional anti-abortion bill banning abortions for reasons of sex-selection or fetal anomalies. The Center for Reproductive Rights is urging the governor to veto both bills.
This week, a North Dakota House committee also heard testimony on several other pieces of legislation aimed at banning abortion in the state, including two so-called personhood measures that would give the full rights and protections of a born human to every fertilized human egg, and a law designed to shut down North Dakota’s last abortion clinic by imposing medically unwarranted requirements that any physician performing abortions in the state obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held—first in Roe v. Wade and again in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that states cannot ban abortion prior to viability.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently representing the Red River Women’s Clinic, the state’s last remaining abortion clinic, in a lawsuit to overturn a 2011 law effectively banning the use of medication abortion in North Dakota—a measure that would deny women access to an alternative to surgical abortion that has been widely recognized as safe and effective by medical experts and organizations worldwide. The law has been temporarily blocked by a state judge from enforcement since July 2011 and a trial on the matter will be held in April 2013.