Injunction on ND abortion law remains in place

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:14 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The preliminary injunction on North Dakota’s abortion law stands after a ruling by state Supreme Court Justices Thursday. This comes after North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, on behalf of the state, sought to end the district court’s pause on an abortion law.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June, ND AG Wrigley certified North Dakota’s trigger law (N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31-12) that would effectively make abortion illegal in the state. This kicked off a lawsuit brought by the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion clinic in the state, as they challenged the ban. They said the law violates the rights of the clinic, its patients, and the doctors.

Judge Bruce Romanick placed an injunction, or pause, on the state’s abortion ban from taking effect while the lawsuit between the clinic and the state takes place.

Wrigley argued the law should still go into effect as litigation proceeds. The state argued the clinic can’t show they are “substantially likely” to succeed on the merits of the case and shouldn’t be granted an injunction.

Justices determined, that while regulation of abortion is within the authority of the legislature under the ND constitution, the clinic has shown a “substantial likelihood” of succeeding on the merits because the abortion law is not narrowly tailored to the State’s compelling interests.

After the ruling Wrigley released a statement:

“Our Supreme Court did this without explicit support from our state Constitution, and without support from legislative enactments in our history of abortion regulation. In so doing, North Dakota’s Supreme Court appears to have taken on the role of a legislative body, a role our constitution does not afford them . . . Thankfully, our legislature has spent the past two months working on legislation that recrafts North Dakota’s abortion laws, and they will now have the opportunity to enact the will of North Dakotans, aware of the latest North Dakota Supreme Court pronouncement.”

The president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights Nancy Northup also released a statement:

“Today, the court rightfully stopped one of the most extreme laws in the country from taking effect and depriving North Dakotans of their reproductive freedom. Under the state constitution, North Dakotans are promised the rights to life, liberty, safety, and happiness, all of which protect the right to abortion. In state after state, people have made clear that they want this right protected, yet state officials continue to ignore the will of their citizens. We will continue to work tirelessly to protect North Dakotans and the fundamental human rights of all people.”

The injunction stands as the underlying case proceeds.