A judge in North Dakota has declared unconstitutional a law passed in North Dakota that forbid the use of medications to induce abortion during the first trimester. The judge called arguments that such procedures are dangerous “exaggerated or contrived.”
Women in North Dakota got good news Thursday when District Court Judge Wickham Corwin announced at the conclusion of a three-day trial over the constitutionality of North Dakota’s medication abortion ban that he plans to issue a ruling permanently blocking the state’s onerous restrictions on medication abortion as unconstitutional.
The battle began in 2011 when North Dakota passed House Bill 1297, a law that introduced new and unnecessary restrictions on the safe and common use of FDA-approved drugs to induce first-trimester abortions. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed a challenge in July 2011 on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinic—North Dakota’s only abortion clinic—arguing that the law denies women access to an alternative to surgical abortion that has been widely recognized as safe and effective by medical experts and organizations worldwide. The law has been temporarily blocked from enforcement since that challenge, pending the outcome of this trial.
This is very good news, but they had to know they were going to lose in court when they passed this law. Hundreds of anti-choice laws have been passed in the last three years, with the goal of getting a case to the Supreme Court that will give them an opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade. There aren’t the votes to do that yet, but they’re hoping that will change by the time the legal challenges make it up to the court.