The North Dakota Supreme Court has quashed a statute prohibiting abortions in the state, finding it unconstitutional. In a 5-0 decision, the court determined that the law, which was passed in 2013 and banned abortions as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, contravened the state’s constitution.
The court’s judgement represents a major legal victory for reproductive rights advocates in North Dakota, who had sought to overturn the statute since its passage. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), who had acted as counsel for the Red River Women’s Clinic, the sole abortion provider in the state, argued that the law violated the state’s constitution by imposing undue burden on the right to access abortion services.
Justice Daniel Crothers, writing for the majority, opined that the measure was “invalid and unconstitutional,” as it “clearly violates the North Dakota Constitution, which protects individual rights to privacy, autonomy, and bodily integrity.” He pointed to language in the state constitution which grants individuals the right to decide “matters of personal health” and declared that the state could not “take action which impinges on that right.”
The ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions blocking the implementation of stringent abortion laws passed in several states in recent years. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has also weighed in on the issue, striking down a Texas law that would have imposed strict requirements on abortion clinics in the state.
The North Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling is a major victory for reproductive rights advocates and a blow to those who sought to impose a blanket ban on abortions in the state. Although the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to be appealed, it stands as a strong affirmation of the right to choose granted to all citizens of North Dakota.
In a 5-0 decision, the North Dakota Supreme Court has invalidated a statute criminalizing abortions, determining that it was unconstitutional due to its infringement of the individual rights to privacy, autonomy, and bodily integrity enshrined in the state’s constitution. The Court’s judgement is a major triumph for reproductive rights advocates, who had protested the law since its passage in 2013, and is the latest in a series of court decisions blocking the implementation of stringent abortion restrictions across the country. SCOTUS has also recently weighed in on the issue, invalidating a law in Texas that would have imposed stringent requirements on abortion clinics. As the law is likely to be appealed, the North Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling stands as a strong affirmation of the right of all citizens to choose in the state.