ND Supreme Court hears abortion arguments

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:30 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Tuesday, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding North Dakota’s abortion ban. Previously, a south-central district judge ruled that abortion was still legal in the state while the lawsuit was being tried. The Attorney General’s Office is challenging that decision.

“The abortion law hasn’t been thrown out by the courts. It has just been blocked from implementation,” said ND Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

Attorneys for the Red River Women’s Clinic said that South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick was correct in issuing the preliminary injunction. The clinic said the ban would cause an unreasonable burden on doctors who would be charged with a felony for performing the procedure.

”The district court correctly found that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that state law which prohibits abortion, even when a person’s life is at risk, does not serve a state interest,” said Meetra Mehdizadeh, attorney for the clinic.

The Attorney General’s office argued that the ban should be left enforced throughout the litigation process. They stated that Romanick “misconstrued the law” when issuing the preliminary injunction allowing for abortion to continue.

”Specifically, the district court did not analyze whether Red River Women’s Clinic has a substantial probability of success,” said Mark Sagsveen, North Dakota solicitor general.

Justice Lisa McEvers asked if cases of rape and incest would have to be proven before an abortion could be performed legally. Red River Women’s Clinic’s attorney said that the burden of proof would go to the doctor, which presents a flaw in the trigger law. However, the state says the affirmative defenses would benefit doctors.

“The inclusion of affirmative defenses does provide a benefit,” said Sagsveen.

”It would force physicians to delay emergency medical care to any pregnant patient,” said Mehdizadeh.

The state Supreme Court stated that they will take the case under advisement.

Red River Women’s Clinic sued the state in July when the overturning of Roe v. Wade triggered the state’s abortion ban.