A North Dakota judge on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction against legislation that would have forced the Red River Clinic [clinic website] in Fargo, North Dakota, to close. The law [SB 2305, PDF] imposes requirements that any physician performing abortions in the state must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, but the Red River Clinic is frequently forced to fly in physicians from out of state. Any physician who fails to comply with the admitting privileges requirement could be prosecuted for a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. Cass County District Court [official website] Judge Wickham Corwin concluded his ruling by saying that enforcing the law would cause irreparable harm [Bloomberg report] to the women who would have to travel out of state for abortions and to clinic employees who would lose their jobs. The decision temporarily blocks the law while the legal challenge continues. Director of the US legal program at the Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy website] Bebe Anderson stated [press release], "Today's decision ensures that North Dakota's only abortion clinic can keep its doors open to the many women it provides critical health care to every year." The center filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of the Red River Women's Clinic, the only abortion provider in North Dakota, which provides a range of reproductive health services to women.
Another North Dakota abortion law was temporarily blocked [JURIST report] last month by a judge for the US District Court for the District of North Dakota [official website]. HB 1456 [test, PDF] is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country [NBC report] and would prohibit abortions after the point at which cardiac activity can be detected in a pregnancy, or as early as six weeks. North Dakota is one of many states [JURIST backgrounder] to enact restrictive abortion laws in recently. Earlier in July a state judge struck down [JURIST report] another North Dakota law placing limitations on drug-induced abortions. The Texas Senate passed [JURIST report] an abortion bill which bans abortions after 20 weeks. Also last month North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio [JURIST reports] enacted laws which place restrictions on abortion.