North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum Monday signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bans into law. Senate Bill 2150 allows exceptions to the ban if it is a result of incest or abuse only if the fetus is less than six weeks’ gestation or if the abortion is is necessary to protect the health of the mother. The abortion ban also does not include removing fetal tissue after a miscarriage and treating an ectopic (when a fetus grows outside of the uterus) or molar (a tumor in the uterus making the fetus nonviable) pregnancy in its definition of abortion care, allowing these procedures.
Under this bill, performing an abortion in the state is a Class C felony, which can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence if convicted. The bill’s purpose claims to “protect and promote human life and maternal health… and reaffirm North Dakota’s tradition to protect every human life whether unborn or aged, healthy or sick.”
North Dakota House Representative Karla Rose Hanson (D-44) opposed the ban, explaining that the “six-week ‘exception’ is before most people know they are pregnant, particularly young victims of sexual violence, and forcing an unwanted pregnancy to continue adds to the trauma.”
In March, the North Dakota Supreme Court blocked the state’s trigger abortion ban that went into effect after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The bill’s passage into law comes after Florida signed a six-week abortion ban with exceptions for exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking within 15 weeks of gestation, as well as exceptions for the health of the mother or fetal abnormalities.