North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed a bill into law prohibiting nearly all abortions in the state.
Gov. Burgum signed the bill (SB 2150) on Monday, April 24, 2023, making abortion illegal in the state. The bill provides for exceptions in cases of rape or incest if the preborn child is six-weeks old or less, or to save the life of the mother.
The North Dakota House of Representatives passed the bill on April 17 in a 76-14 vote. The state Senate subsequently approved the bill by an overwhelming margin in a 42-5 vote on April 19.
“This bill clarifies and refines existing state law … and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,” Gov. Burgum said in a statement.
North Dakota has a trigger law which prohibits abortion in the state and was intended to take effect following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
However, the ban is currently blocked after being challenged in court.
On March 16 the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld a preliminary injunction against the trigger law. Importantly, the court noted that the “regulation of abortion is within the authority of the legislature under the North Dakota Constitution.”
However, the court said that Red River successfully argued “that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in the limited instances of life-saving and health-preserving circumstances.”
This makes it more likely that, should SB 2150 be challenged in court by pro-abortion groups, the North Dakota Supreme Court would uphold the law.
The Associated Press reports, “It’s expected that this new ban will also be the subject of legal challenges.”
In a speech before the North Dakota House of Representatives last week, House majority leader Mike Lefor said:
We’re going to send another message to the North Dakota Supreme Court. This is what this Legislature wants. We want pro-life in North Dakota.
However, the Legislature of the Peace Garden State isn’t just prohibiting abortion. It is also working on providing additional resources to pregnant woman.
Lawmakers are currently considering SB 2181, which would provide temporary assistance – including medical assistance benefits – to pregnant women.
Legislators are also considering SB 2129 which would provide additional funding to the state’s Alternatives-to-Abortion program and help nonprofit organizations “promote childbirth instead of abortion by providing information, counseling support services and material assistance to pregnant women.”
In a statement to the Daily Citizen, Mark Jorritsma, Executive Director of the North Dakota Family Alliance, praised the dozens of pro-family bills that are sailing through the North Dakota Legislature this term.
Speaking of SB 2150, Jorritsma said:
[The bill] reaffirms our state’s longstanding commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn, particularly when our Trigger Law is currently being held up by the courts.
The other bill, Senate Bill 2129, provides more funding for our very successful Alternatives-to-Abortion program that helps new mothers see that abortion is not the right choice for them or their unborn child, despite the fear and uncertainty they may be experiencing.
Jorritsma emphasized that last year’s election dramatically reshaped the composition of the North Dakota Legislature, making it far more conservative and “more likely to vote in a manner consistent with the biblical principles North Dakotans hold so dear.”
He added, “Now is when we are seeing the results of those decisions made months ago at the ballot box.”
Focus on the Family has been working to turn the cultural tide and save mothers and babies from abortion for years. Since beginning the Option Ultrasound Program in 2004, Focus has helped save nearly half a million lives.
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If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and want to learn more about your options, visit My Choice Network.
Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.
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