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Abortion Access

Women facing an unintended pregnancy must have access to safe, legal abortion services.

We believe all people should have access to the full range of reproductive health care services.

Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high quality health care to our patients—including abortion*—and to ensure that they receive accurate information about all of their options in order to make their own, fully informed health care decisions.

Abortion has been safe and legal in the U.S. for more than 40 years. Since 1973, with the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Constitution protects every person’s right to safe, legal abortion. Yet, some policymakers have worked to make it increasingly difficult for patients to access abortion through court battles, ballot measures, and burdensome legislative restrictions on abortion services. This is all part of an ongoing effort to deny people their right to make their own personal medical decisions.

Currently, there are laws in North Dakota that place burdens on a person seeking an abortion. These restrictions include:

  • 24-hour waiting period: A patient must receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
  • Mandatory ultrasounds: Abortion providers must offer women the opportunity to view an ultrasound.
  • Language: Abortion providers must say to patients that abortion destroys “ the life of an unborn child, a unique human being”.
  • Public funding: Abortion is only considered for public funding in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
  • Parental consent: The parents of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.

In the past, the North Dakota Legislature has tried to pass other restrictions limiting an individual’s access to abortion.

  • In November 2014, North Dakotans voted on whether or not 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.
  • In March 2013, ND HB 1456 was signed into law. The law subjected doctors to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison if they performed an abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected. A federal district court found that it violated the constitutional protections put into place with Roe v. Wade and the bill was blocked. In July of the same year, a lawsuit was filed regarding the law by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, ND. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the bill, again. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but the court let the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stand.
  • In 2011, HB 1297 was passed. This bill called for restrictions on how medication abortion can be offered. In April, 2013, a trial was held to stop these restrictions. The judge ruled in late July that all provisions of HB 1297 that relate to medication abortion are unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the restrictions from going into effect. The State of North Dakota appealed this decision to the ND Supreme Court and the ND Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling and let HB 1297 take effect. UPDATE: 2016, the FDA approved a new label for the abortion pill, nullifying the provisions of HB 1297 that affected the administration of medication abortions.
  • North Dakota's HB 1572 was a bill in the North Dakota Legislature in 2009. The bill aimed to "provide equality and rights to all human beings at every stage of biological development,” aka a “personhood” bill. This legislation passed the North Dakota House of Representatives, but was defeated in the North Dakota Senate.

* Please note that Planned Parenthood does not offer abortion services in North Dakota. If you are seeking abortion care in the state of North Dakota please visit the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo.

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