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Governor signs all three ND anti-abortion bills, anticipates court battles

BISMARCK – Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed three abortion-limiting bills passed by the North Dakota Legislature, giving the state the most anti-abortion laws of any U.S. state and setting up possible legal challenges over provisions critics say are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.

Dalrymple acknowledged the likelihood of an ensuing court battle and recommended that lawmakers set aside money for litigation.

Upon hearing the announcement, Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota's sole abortion provider, said she has contacted the clinic's attorneys at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a national group that advocates for reproductive freedom.

Here is the full text of the statement released at 11 a.m. by Dalrymple:

“Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed HB 1305, HB 1456 and SB 2305 and provided the following statements to the Legislature:

North Dakota House and Senate presiding officers:

I have signed HB 1305 which would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities.

I have signed HB 1456 which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question. The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.

I have signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota. The added requirement that the hospital privileges must include allowing abortions to take place in their facility greatly increases the chances that this measure will face a court challenge. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and new question for the courts regarding a precise restriction on doctors who perform abortions.”