North Dakota Takes Budget Surplus, Sets It On Fire Fighting Abortion

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) had a busy day, Tuesday signing into law a package of abortion restrictions that makes North Dakota the most women’s rights-hostile state in the nation.

Among the restrictions signed into law is the earliest and most extreme abortion ban in the country—making virtually all abortions in the state illegal after the point at which a fetal heart tone can be detected, about six weeks of pregnancy. The governor also approved SB 2305—a measure designed to shut down North Dakota’s only abortion clinic by imposing medically unwarranted requirements that any physician performing abortions obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. A nearly identical measure passed and signed into law in Mississippi last year is currently being challenged in federal court by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the last abortion provider in that state.

Last but not least, Dalrymple signed HB 1305 into law, an unconstitutional bill banning abortions for reasons of sex-selection or genetic fetal anomaly—the first of its kind in the nation. The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently reviewing the impact of this law. And for good measure, last week the state legislature passed SCR 4009, which will place a so-called “personhood” measure on the state ballot in 2014 that, if approved, could ban abortion, threaten access to some forms of birth control, and interfere with women and families trying to have children using fertility treatments like IVF.

Seriously, the state’s a mess right now.

The impact of these bans can’t be overstated — North Dakota conservatives have, in effect, created an abortion-free zone in the Great Plains. Currently about 30 percent of people seeking abortions from the state’s lone clinic come from neighboring Minnesota, while its neighbor to the south, South Dakota, has a 72-hr waiting period, which makes traveling to the state for an abortion extremely burdensome. And let’s not forget the fact that large portions of both Dakotas include vast expanses of Native American reservations.

What that all amounts to is a concerted effort to restrict reproductive health care to women who are poor, rural and of-color. And in case there was any doubt about just how specific these intentions are, let’s also not forget that North Dakota is currently awash in oil money, meaning the state has the rare budget surpluses to fund an expensive and lengthy legal battle.

Thankfully at least some conservatives are starting to take notice and take a stand.

On Monday, North Dakota Republican State Representative Kathy Hawken led a bipartisan group of legislators, physicians and North Dakota women and families in a protest of the extreme package of abortion bills.  State Representative Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) said in a statement:

Like many of my Republican colleagues, I personally am pro-life. But we have gone over the line.  North Dakota hasn’t even passed a primary seatbelt law, but so far this year we have taken up six different bills to end safe and legal abortion in our state. I call on my colleagues in North Dakota and in statehouses around the country to re-attune their focus.  We need to make sure every American woman has access to the preventive health care she needs, including birth control, so she can avoid an unintended pregnancy and stay healthy. This is a policy priority that unites, rather than divides, Americans. And this is the policy priority that aligns with my Grand Old Party.

Indeed. If only the men in charge would listen.


Related Stories:

Kansas Has A New Abortion Bill, And It’s BIG

Michigan Republicans Propose Tax Credits For Fetuses

Arkansas Becomes Worst State Ever For Women


Photo from mikeporesky via flickr.


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Jessica, for Sharing this!

stacey t.
Stacey Toda4 years ago

North Dakota is one of the few states that’s worse than Arizona.

Heather G.
Heather G4 years ago

Dying is not the only danger of illegal abortion.

Mary T.
Mary T4 years ago

if you do not believe in abortion do not get a female pregnant. these Republicans talk about bad Muslims treat their women, but they do not realize they are doing the same thing...stay out of my body and spend that money on something really useful for the residents of North Dakota

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Pat said "Do you know how many women were killed by back alley illegal abortions before Roe V. Wade was enacted? The CDC reported In 1972 ( the year BEFORE Roe v. Wade ) that 24 women died from causes associated with legal abortion, and 39 women died from illegal abortions."

More lies from Pat, Jesus the CDC has no idea how many illegal abortions were preformed, because the abortions were ILLEGAL and as such would not be reported.

Pat Patton
Pat Patton4 years ago

Do you guys here stand with Planned Parenthood and their efforts regarding abortion? Is this a good organization to you guys?

Alexia Muriel Dean
Alexia Dean4 years ago

Women's right? And what about baby girl's right? The unborn has rights too! Both, the mother and the baby! I will never understand why to avoid women death must die an inoccent life!

Pat Patton
Pat Patton4 years ago

"Alot of women died needlessly by internal bleeding from botched abortions performed by anyone with coathangers...poisons..the list goes on. Because women are going to continue having abortions in spite of your illegal law. Keep your laws OFF MY BODY!"

And people continue to murder people too in spite of the law. Do you want them to repeal murder laws that protect you?

And in regard to all these women dying in back alley abortions - what you say is not true.

Do you know how many women were killed by back alley illegal abortions before Roe V. Wade was enacted?

The CDC reported In 1972 ( the year BEFORE Roe v. Wade ) that 24 women died from causes associated with legal abortion, and 39 women died from illegal abortions. So the ILLEGAL abortions in 1972 caused only 39 deaths. Yet the killing machine of planned parenthood legally killed 333,964 human beings in 2011 alone. Though we don't revel in any death - what is better? That 39 died of their own volition from doing something that was illegal for them to do?

Or to legally kill 333,964 humans who are not given a voice in the matter?

Karen Howard
Karen H4 years ago

If North Dakota has a surprlus, they can send it down to Florida where Gov. Ricky is denying Medicaid to cancer patients & making it almost impossible for them to get treatment.