North Dakota's Supreme Court ruled against the state's abortion ban, declaring it unconstitutional.
The state's trigger law went into effect following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June which was followed by a lawsuit leading to the ruling.
The North Dakota Supreme Court declared that the state's abortion ban is unconstitutional and will not be enforced. https://t.co/Hgpi07bECV
— ABC News (@ABC) March 16, 2023
"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," Jensen wrote.
With the state Supreme Court decision, it means the current 21-week limit on abortions will remain in place.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 16, 2023
"Today, the court rightfully stopped one of the most extreme laws in the country from taking effect and depriving North Dakotans of their reproductive freedom," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights -- which had filed the suit in North Dakota on behalf of abortion providers -- in a statement.
"Under the state constitution, North Dakotans are promised the rights to life, liberty, safety, and happiness, all of which protect the right to abortion," the statement continued. "In state after state, people have made clear that they want this right protected, yet state officials continue to ignore the will of their citizens. We will continue to work tirelessly to protect North Dakotans and the fundamental human rights of all people."
BREAKING: The North Dakota Supreme Court has found a "right" to kill a child through abortion in their state constitution.
North Dakota lawmakers must work around this legal fiction and ensure their children are protected from abortion.https://t.co/Z3MQhOlYeb
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) March 16, 2023
"Without the law protecting preborn humans from abortion in effect, abortion is legal for any reason through 21 weeks and six days in North Dakota," the pro-life group Live Action noted.
"After that point, abortion is legal in order to save the mother’s life or physical health, though induced abortion — the direct and intentional killing of a preborn child — is not medically necessary," it added.
The controversial ruling adds to mixed decisions in other states that have enacted stricter abortion limitations following the Supreme Court's decision.
At least 20 states have enacted more limitations, while some states like New York and California have sought even more extreme abortion measures.
The state battle continues to intensify as legal efforts on all sides seek an advantage on laws related to abortion.