A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

North Dakota judge strikes down law limiting drug-induced abortions

A state judge in North Dakota ruled Monday 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] had announced his intention to strike down the law following a three-day trial in April, and he issued his 58-page ruling [text, PDF] on Monday. Corwin found 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 [AP report] to the North Dakota Supreme Court [official website].

Last month Corwin combined the challenge [JURIST report] to the 2011 law with a challenge to a recent statute [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers to be affiliated with a hospital within 30 miles of their practice [text, PDF]. A hearing is due on that issue at the end of the month. Also in June the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy site] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] alleging that two other North Dakota abortion laws violate the US constitution. CRR filed suit [press release] on behalf of the Red River Women's Clinic [clinic website] challenging HB 1456 and HB 1305 [materials], which, respectively, prohibit abortion after the point at which cardiac activity can be detected in a pregnancy, and for reasons of sex-selection and for genetic fetal anomaly.

About Paper Chase

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.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.