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North Dakota judge to strike down law limiting drug-induced abortions

A state judge in North Dakota said Thursday that he will rule that a 2011 North Dakota law [HB 1297, PDF] that restricts drug-induced abortions is unconstitutional. Judge Wickham Corwin of the Cass County District Court [official website] announced [Inforum report] that the law creates an "insurmountable barrier" to abortion and fails to adequately protect women's reproductive rights. The abortion law, which Corwin first enjoined [JURIST report] in 2011, would prevent women from taking the abortion drug Mifeprex after seven weeks and would require women to take a second abortion drug at a clinic rather than taking it at home. The law would also increase the price of abortion drugs by 40 percent. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem [official profile] plans to appeal the ruling to the North Dakota Supreme Court [official website].

North Dakota [JURIST news archive] has been at the forefront recently of the ongoing debate on reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple [official website] signed a measure [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the controversial premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Last month Dalrymple signed three laws, HB 1305, HB 1456 and SB 2305 [materials], which impose the nation's most severe restrictions on abortion [JURIST report]. These new laws, respectively, ban abortion [JURIST report] for the purpose of gender selection or genetic abnormalities, ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and require that any physician performing an abortion have admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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