Jul 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

North Dakota's only abortion clinic sues state over trigger ban

Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Red River Women’s Clinic, the only remaining abortion provider in North Dakota, is suing state officials over the state's trigger ban, which is set to take effect later this summer.

The big picture: Lawsuits challenging trigger laws have been filed in several states following the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Trigger laws in Kentucky, Louisiana and Utah have been temporarily blocked.

State of play: The plaintiffs in the North Dakota case argue the trigger law is unconstitutional because the state constitution guarantees "the rights of life, liberty, safety, and happiness, all of which protect the right to abortion," according to a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the clinic in the case.

  • North Dakota's attorney general said the trigger law will take effect on July 28. But the lawsuit is also challenging that date, saying that law is meant to take effect 30 days after the state Attorney General certifies the Supreme Court's judgment that would overturn Roe.
  • The lawsuit argues that while the Supreme Court has issued its opinion overturning Roe, it has not given its judgment on the decision (which is a separate order typically issued at least 25 days or longer after the opinion.)

Details: Under North Dakota's ban, abortions would be illegal in the state except in cases in which one is needed to prevent the pregnant person's death.

  • Abortion providers could face a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

What they're saying: "We have faced relentless attacks from North Dakota lawmakers who have long wanted us gone. But we will fight this draconian ban like the other outrageous bans and restrictions that came before it," said Tammi Kromenaker, director of Red River Women’s Clinic.

  • "In the meantime, we will keep our doors open to provide abortion care to patients who need us. Being the last remaining abortion clinic in the state, our patients already have to travel long distances just to reach us.
  • "Our patients deserve the right to access essential health care if and when they need it regardless of ZIP code."

Go deeper: The abortion trigger laws that have gone into effect now that Roe v. Wade is overturned

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