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North Dakota Joins Arkansas’s Race to the Bottom on Women’s Health 

NEW YORK — Planned Parenthood Action Fund urges North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple to veto abortion bans headed to his desk, including one that would outlaw the procedure before a woman is even aware she is pregnant  

In the 40 years following the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court has never wavered from the principle that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's liberty, including her decision to have an abortion, and that therefore, a state may not ban abortion prior to viability.  But since 2010, 10 states have enacted unconstitutional laws that place impermissible limits on women’s personal medical decisions.  None of these have gone as far as North Dakota lawmakers did today when they voted to ban abortions after six weeks.  There are no exceptions if a woman has been the victim of rape, if her health is threatened, or if she will lose the pregnancy due to fetal anomalies.  

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“These bans are outrageous and unconstitutional and they will not stand.  The state-by-state race to the bottom on women’s health is not what Americans elected their lawmakers to focus on.  A majority of Americans consistently believe that abortion should remain safe and legal in this country.  

“We urge North Dakota Governor Dalrymple to veto the Legislature’s abortion bans immediately when they reach his desk.”  

“Voters in North Dakota and across America know that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to make.  It is not for politicians to decide.  They are not in her shoes.” 


• North Dakota’s abortion ban is part of a package of bills that, if enacted, take personal health care decisions away from North Dakota women and families.  

o In addition to sending a ban on virtually all abortions in the state, today North Dakota lawmakers also sent Governor Dalrymple a ban on abortion if a woman makes the decision on the basis of sex or genetic abnormalities.

o Next week the Legislature is poised to send to Governor Dalrymple a so-called “personhood” bill that would ban abortion outright, a bill that would effectively ban abortion by forcing the state’s only provider of safe and legal abortions to close, and a ban on abortion at 20 weeks.  

• In a Pew poll released in January, more than six in 10 (63 percent) respondents said they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.

• A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released in January found that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade — marking the highest percentage on this question since 1989. 

• North Dakota voters defeated Measure Three, the so-called “Religious Liberties Restoration Amendment,” by nearly 30 points in their 2012 summer primary, showing that the electorate resoundingly supports women’s health care and private health care decisions.  Measure 3 intended to eviscerate key protections built into the Affordable Care Act, including protections from the Obama administration that ensure Americans get adequate coverage for essential health services and coverage of preventive services without a co-pay.  


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