North Dakota adopted one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the nation on Monday as Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill banning abortions throughout his pregnancy, with very few exceptions up to the sixth week of pregnancy.
In those early weeks, abortion was only permitted in cases of medical emergency, such as rape, incest, or ectopic pregnancy.
“This bill clarifies and improves existing state laws,” Burgum said in his statement… North Dakota reaffirms itself as an anti-abortion state.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide sparked several state laws banning or limiting the abortion process. Many have faced legal challenges. Abortion bans at all stages of pregnancy are currently in place in at least 13 states, pending court orders in others. Meanwhile, in at least 20 states this year, Democratic governors have launched a network to strengthen access to abortion following the US Supreme Court’s decision to repeal women’s right to abortion and transfer regulatory authority over the procedure to states. .
The North Dakota law was designed to go into effect immediately, but the state’s Supreme Court last month ruled that the previous ban should remain blocked pending a lawsuit over its constitutionality. Last week, lawmakers said they plan to pass the latest bill as a message to the state superior court that North Dakota residents want to limit abortion.
Supporters said the measure signed on Monday would protect all human life, but opponents argued it would have dire consequences for women and girls.
There are no more abortion clinics in North Dakota. Last summer, the state’s only facility, the Red River Women’s Clinic, closed its doors in Fargo and moved a short distance across the border to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion is still legal. The clinic’s owner continues a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Dakota’s previous abortion ban laws.
This new ban is also expected to be subject to legal challenges.
Republican Senator Janne Myrdal of Edinburg sponsored the latest state bill.
“North Dakota has always been anti-abortion and has believed in valuing both mothers and children,” Myrdal said in an interview. She said, “We are very happy and grateful that the Governor supports those values.”
Democratic Congresswoman Liz Conmy voted against the bill and said she wished Burgum would not sign it.
“I don’t think women in North Dakota will accept this, and there will be action to take back our rights in the future,” Conmy said. “Our legislature is overwhelmingly pro-pregnancy, but I think women in the state want to make their own decisions.”