North Dakota: Abortion’s new battleground
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's governor positioned the oil-rich state Tuesday as a primary battleground in the decades-old fight over abortion rights, signing into law the nation's toughest restriction on the procedure and urging lawmakers to set aside cash for an inevitable legal challenge.
Minutes after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed three anti-abortion measures — one banning them as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — unsolicited donations began pouring into the state's lone abortion clinic to help opponents prove the new laws are unconstitutional.
"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Dalrymple said in a statement, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion up to until a fetus is considered viable — usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
Dalrymple seemed determined to open a legal debate on the legislation, acknowledging "the constitutionality of this measure is an open question." He asked the Legislature to set aside money for a "litigation fund" that would allow the state's attorney general to defend the measure against lawsuits.