North Dakota Supreme Court orders judge to reconsider block on abortion law

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

A North Dakota judge who blocked the state’s law protecting preborn children from abortion has been ordered to reconsider his decision by the state Supreme Court.

Judge Bruce Romanick blocked the state’s trigger law just one day before it was due to take effect, after siding with what was previously North Dakota’s only abortion facility. Red River Women’s Clinic filed a lawsuit contesting the law and then moved across state lines into Minnesota.

Despite the fact that Red River was no longer operating in North Dakota, Romanick still agreed that the law protecting preborn children from abortion would cause “significant harm” and could hurt medical providers and pregnant women in North Dakota if allowed to take effect. 

But the North Dakota Supreme Court evidently disagrees with this ruling, ordering Romanick to reconsider the abortion facility’s chances of success at contesting the trigger law — something he refused to take into consideration in his previous ruling. He said this “would essentially have the court determine the final validity of the parties’ claims.”

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, told ABC News that the state Supreme Court ruling was to be expected, regardless of the subject matter: abortion. “This is entirely, if not embarrassingly, predictable,” Turley said. “Judge Romanick’s opinion was notably disconnected from the governing standard on preliminary injunctions. It was strikingly improvisational and the Supreme Court is ordering the court to return to the more scripted standard for such applications.”

Meetra Mehdizadeh, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, still argued that Romanick made the right decision, despite not keeping to the legal standard. “North Dakotans undoubtedly deserve the ability to make personal decisions about their own bodies and lives, and providers should not be afraid to do their jobs in caring for their patients,” she said.

Romanick previously prevented the trigger law from taking effect in July as well, saying that Attorney General Drew Wrigley “prematurely attempted to execute” the trigger law before the official judgment overturning Roe v. Wade had been released.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.