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.