FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA— Today, our nation’s most extreme abortion ban takes effect in Texas, marking a grave era in which safe and legal abortion is at extreme risk. The law, S.B. 8, bans abortion at six weeks, before most know they are pregnant, and empowers private citizens to sue abortion providers and private citizens who “aid and abet” an abortion.
“North Dakota could be the next to ban abortion. While abortion is still legal today, Texas is showing us what the future of abortion could quickly become,” said Katie Christensen, North Dakota State Director for External Affairs, Planned Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund.
The Texas law comes as the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is set to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a Mississippi case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the decision that established the right to abortion. If SCOTUS significantly weakens Roe, abortion rights would be determined by state law, paving the way for extreme state politicians to ban abortion.
At the same time, many states are also exacerbating health inequities by eliminating access to contraception and sex education. By taking away the ability to prevent pregnancy and taking away the right to abortion, North Dakotans are facing a new era of people being forced into pregnancy.
These policies exacerbate health inequities by harming people of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas the most. People struggling to make ends meet are often forced to delay accessing contraception and abortion services because they need time to secure the funds. They are also less able to travel out of state to get the care they need.
If Roe v. Wade were significantly undermined, abortion would immediately be outlawed in North Dakota due to a dangerous “trigger law.”
In the past, the North Dakota Legislature tried to pass other restrictions limiting an individual’s access to abortion. In November 2014, North Dakotans voted on whether a personhood measure would be added to the state constitution. Measure 1 would have amended the constitution to read “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected,” effectively banning abortion with no exceptions, including rape, incest, or a threat to the woman’s life. North Dakota citizens defeated this measure, 2:1.
“We will always fight to protect reproductive freedom in North Dakota,” said Christensen “State protections for abortion access ensure that every person, no matter their zip code, has access to the health care they need and deserve.”
Founded in 1992, the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. As the advocacy and electoral arm of PPMNS, we mobilize supporters of all parties to defend and increase access to family planning services and fact based, medically accurate sexuality education. We work to inspire and engage citizens to take up the cause of reproductive health and rights through education, electoral activity, grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy.