The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling on Thursday that blocked a statute which would have outlawed a particular type of abortion commonly referred to as “trigger abortion”. The statute, which was passed by the North Dakota legislature in 2019, would have prohibited doctors from performing abortions on a woman whose pregnancy had surpassed six weeks of gestation.
The challenged statute was a provision of House Bill 1336, which the North Dakota House of Representatives passed in March 2019. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Doug Burgum on April 1, 2019. The bill’s language declared that no physician could perform an abortion either before or after detection of a fetal heartbeat.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a legal challenge to the bill in April 2019. The complaint argued that the statute was unconstitutional as it violated the right to privacy as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The complaint also argued that the statute was in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which held that a woman’s right to privacy extends to her decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.
The district court ruling on the case agreed with the plaintiffs and granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the state from enforcing the statute. The ruling stated that the statute “imposes an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy before viability” and that it was “facially unconstitutional”.
The state appealed the ruling to the North Dakota Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the district court’s decision. The court wrote that the statute, “in its present form, is a clear infringement on the rights of women to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability”. The court also noted that the statute “would create an undue burden on women seeking pre-viability abortions”. The court noted that the statute “would impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy prior to viability” and that it was “facially unconstitutional”.
The North Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling will remain in effect until a final decision is made on the merits of the case. The court’s ruling affirmed the district court’s finding that the statute was an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy prior to viability.
The North Dakota Supreme Court’s decision is a significant victory for the rights of women to make their own reproductive health decisions. The ruling affirms the district court’s finding that the statute is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of privacy and that it conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. The decision is a reminder that the right to make reproductive health decisions is a fundamental right that must be respected.