OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 5:24 PM – Tuesday, April 25, 2023
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed legislation on Monday that prohibits most abortions before the sixth week of pregnancy, with few exceptions.
“This bill clarifies and refines existing state law … and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,” Burgum (R-N.D.) said.
The law requires that “[a]n abortion facility may not perform an abortion on a woman without first offering the woman an opportunity to receive and view at the abortion facility or another facility an active ultrasound of her unborn child.”
Except in situations of rape or incest before six weeks of gestation, or for medical circumstances that can occur after six weeks, such as an ectopic or molar pregnancy, the new legislation makes abortion a class C felony.
A physician who conducts an abortion faces a potential punishment of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Individuals who assist in the performance of an abortion at the advice of a physician and are unaware that they are performing an abortion in contravention of the law are exempt.
The law was approved by veto-proof majorities in the Republican-dominated state legislature. Supporters contend that the law protects all human life, while opponents argue that anti-abortion legislation violates the rights of women and girls.
The United States Supreme Court’s decision last year to reverse the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, which allowed abortion worldwide, has resulted in a slew of state bills outlawing or regulating the operation. Many faced legal repercussions. Abortion restrictions at all stages of pregnancy are now in effect in at least 13 states, with others on hold due to judicial injunctions. On the other hand, Democratic governors in at least 20 states created a network this year to enhance abortion access, recognizing that state legislatures now have the authority to regulate abortion.
Although the North Dakota law is intended to go into effect right away, the state’s Supreme Court decided last month that a prior prohibition must remain in place while a case challenging its legality is ongoing. Last week, lawmakers declared their intention to enact the most recent legislation as a statement to the state’s highest court that North Dakotans support abortion restrictions.
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