North Dakota Abortion Ban Blocked

On Monday, a federal judge temporally blocked a law in North Dakota that would ban abortions after six weeks, which was to go into effect August 1, 2013. United States District Judge Daniel Hovland stated in no uncertain terms that the so-called “fetal-heartbeat” law was “clearly invalid and unconstitutional.” Hovland stated,?according to?The Raw Story?and?The Hill:

There is no question that North Dakota H.B. 1456 is in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion. H.B. 1456 is clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in?Roe v. Wade?from 1973,?Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey?from 1992, and the progeny of cases that have followed. As a practical matter, H.B. 1456 would ban nearly 90 percent of all abortions performed at the only clinic in North Dakota which provides such services, in direct contradiction to United States Supreme Court precedent.?The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.

House Bill 1456 has two main provisions:
*Section 1 of the bill states that no abortion may be performed without attempting to detect a fetal heartbeat. The only exception after six weeks is in the case of medical necessity where the mother’s life may be at risk.
*Section 2 of the bill clearly states that any provision performed outside of the provision of Section 1 is a class C felony, but that the mother of the fetus is not to be charged.

This is not the final ruling to be issued by Judge Hovland on this matter, but he seems to be making it clear what his decision will be. Republicans pushing the law forward have been expecting this decision and have already prepared a legal team and funds to fight this through the courts. When he signed the bill into law this past March, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) directed the legislators to appropriate funds for legalities, stating that the new law is an “attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of?Roe v. Wade.”

In a press release Monday, Bebe Anderson, Director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated:

?The nation’s most extreme abortion ban has been blocked, and the message to hostile politicians could not be clearer: the rights of women guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and protected by 40 years of Supreme Court precedent cannot be legislated away. Today’s decision ensures for the moment that the women of North Dakota won’t need to worry whether they will still have the same constitutionally protected rights as women living in other parts of the United States. For the last four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently recognized a woman’s right under the U.S. Constitution to make her own reproductive health care decisions, and we are confident that the courts will continue to affirm that fundamental right as this legal battle continues.

In June 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit on behalf of North Dakota’s only remaining abortion clinic and its director. Red River Women’s Clinic provides a number of reproductive health services to women in North Dakota as well as neighboring states.

The CRR also took legal action in May 2013 when SB 2305 was passed. That bill was specifically designed to shut down the Red River Women’s Clinic, which would have ended all safe and legal abortion services throughout the state. That bill was effectively swatted down in a 58 page judgment, issued by District Court Judge Wickham Corwin.


Edited/Published by: SB

"...And so I say to all of you here and to all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. This great rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all--all, black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too--poverty, disease and ignorance--we shall overcome." ~excerpt from speech by President Lyndon B Johnson, given two days after the start of the Selma Marches in an event that became known as Bloody Sunday.


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