North Dakota governor signs law protecting most preborn children from abortion

On Monday, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation protecting nearly all preborn children from abortion. The law took effect immediately and includes few exceptions.

SB 2150 prohibits most abortions, which the law defines as an act that carries “the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman… with knowledge the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child.” It includes exceptions for women facing “death or a serious health risk” throughout pregnancy. It also contains exceptions for survivors pregnant from rape or incest during the first six weeks of gestation.

In addition, the bill ensures that the state’s Department of Health & Human Services publishes information on the services available for women throughout pregnancy, the development of preborn children, and the risks of abortion, as well as the existence of abortion pill reversal.

“This bill clarifies and refines existing state law… and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,” Burgum said in a statement.

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In March, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled a similar law to be unconstitutional. That law was a trigger law set to take effect upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which occurred in June 2022. Like SB 2150, it would have made committing abortion a felony except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life was at risk. It is expected that SB 2150 will face a legal challenge as well.

Lawmakers in North Dakota said they passed SB 2150 in part as a message to the state Supreme Court that the people of the state want abortion restricted. “We’re going to send another message to the North Dakota Supreme Court,” said House Majority Leader Mike Lefor. “This is what this Legislature wants. We want pro-life in North Dakota.”

North Dakota’s new law is being called “one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country” as the state joins more than half a dozen others to enact pro-life laws since the fall of Roe v. Wade.

“North Dakota has always been pro-life and believed in valuing the moms and children both,” Sen. Janne Myrdal said in an interview. “We’re pretty happy and grateful that the governor stands with that value.”

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