Fargo, ND – Last night, a particularly cruel and dangerous attack on women’s health was signed into law by North Dakota Governor Dalrymple. The abortion ban outlaws abortion after 20-weeks. It includes a very narrow exception for medical emergencies and does not have an exception to protect the health of the woman or in cases of a fetal anomaly.
As the result of a similar — yet less restrictive — measure passed in Nebraska in 2010, a woman named Danielle Deaver, was forced to continue a pregnancy even after a health crisis meant she was going to lose the pregnancy. She was forced to live through 10 excruciating days waiting to give birth to a baby that she knew would die minutes later, because her doctors feared prosecution under her state’s 20-week abortion ban.
This comes on the heels of the legislature’s and the Governor’s actions in March to enact a near total abortion ban in the state, effectively making North Dakota one of the most hostile states in the country towards women’s health. Last month, Governor Dalrymple signed into law the most extreme ban on abortion in the nation, including a law that forbids safe and legal abortion as early as 6 weeks — before a woman may even know she is pregnant. There are no exceptions if a woman has been the victim of rape, if her health is threatened, or if she will lose the pregnancy due to fetal anomalies.
The following is a statement by Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota President and CEO, Sarah Stoesz.
“Governor Dalrymple’s decision to sign a 20-week abortion ban into law late last night serves as the final segment in a series of cruel and unconstitutional laws that severely compromises the health and well-being of all North Dakota women and their families.”
“This bill, along with the sweeping package of bills signed last month, is unconstitutional and will not stand up in court. But as a result of North Dakota’s leaders’ disregard for women’s health, the state will endure months and years of drawn-out litigation costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. What a reckless and appalling waste of resources.”
“Now, the voters of North Dakota will contend with what’s left of the state’s all-out assault on women’s health over the next several month leading up to a battle over “Personhood” in the 2014 election. “Personhood” measures are so extreme even voters in the most conservative states, like Mississippi, have rejected them.”
“North Dakotans know that decisions about pregnancy and abortion are deeply personal and very complex. The grassroots uprising we saw in Bismarck and Fargo last month are proof of that. In 2014, North Dakotans will have the opportunity to stand up to these politicians and say ‘enough is enough.’”