By Dave Andrusko
The North Dakota Supreme Court this morning rejected Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s request to remove a preliminary injunction that prevented the state’s trigger law from taking effect.
In 2007, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill protecting unborn children from abortion in the state within 30 days if the Supreme Court were to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The Court’s June 24, 2022, Dobbs decisions did just that.
In 2007, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill outlawing most abortions in the state within 30 days if the Supreme Court were to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The Court’s June 24, 2022, Dobbs decisions did just that.
The Red River Women’s Clinic [RRWC], which moved from Fargo to neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, last year, sued Wrigley in July to prevent the protective law from taking effect. The lawsuit asserts that the state’s constitution grants the right to abortion
Last October Judge Bruce Romanick rejected a request from Attorney General Wrigley to let the law take effect while the lawsuit went forward.
Wrigley said that Judge Romanick made a mistake when he said there’s not a “clear and obvious” answer on whether the state Constitution prohibits abortion and that therefore the case should go forward, according to the Associated Press’s Dave Kolpack. “In order to determine that the outcome favors the clinic Romanick would have to first find that a constitutional right to abortion existed, Wrigley said.”
The state’s highest court saw it otherwise. Writing for himself and three other justices, Chief Justice Jon Jensen held that “While the regulation of abortion is within the authority of the legislature under the North Dakota Constitution, RRWC has demonstrated likely success on the merits that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in the limited instances of life-saving and health-preserving circumstances, and the statute is not narrowly tailored to satisfy strict scrutiny.”
In a 21 page long decision, Jensen went on to write that “The North Dakota Constitution guarantees North Dakota citizens the right to enjoy and defend life and the right to pursue and obtain safety, which necessarily includes a pregnant woman has a fundamental right to obtain an abortion to preserve her life or her health.”
North Dakota Right to Life [NRDL] is NRL’s State Affiliate. “NDRL is thoroughly reviewing the opinion released today with our legal counsel,” said Executive Director McKenzie McCoy. “We are definitely concerned about the wording in the opinion and its lack of clarity. Once we finish our in-depth review, NDRL will put out a formal statement.”