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Exclusive: Dalrymple Explains why he Signed Anti-Abortion Bills - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Exclusive: Dalrymple Explains why he Signed Anti-Abortion Bills

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North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple is speaking out for the first time about signing off on three controversial anti-abortion bills that would essentially ban abortions in North Dakota. In a Valley News Live exclusive, the Governor takes questions from 6:30 Point of View host Chris Berg.

The first and most basic question, why did the Governor sign bills into law?

"I would have to say the main reason is that a strong majority of our legislature," Dalrymple said, "About two-thirds of the legislature voted in favor of these bills and I think they are determined to ask some new questions of the federal courts regarding what restrictions may be allowable under Roe v. Wade under the rulings that prevail today."

Next, Chris Berg asked the Governor what exactly went into the decision, were there any personal reasons involved or was it strictly a political move?

"I don't like to think of it being political, I thought this process through very carefully and it's a very difficult issue and there's a lot to learn about it," Dalrymple responds. "I don't think it's personal, I mean I don't have a religious believe or a personal history or anything like that really influenced my thinking."

The third question delves into the Governor's process before the bill is signed. Chris Berg asks what was the deciding moment when the Governor said 'I'm going to sign these bills into law.' The governor once again mentions his backing of the North Dakota legislature.

"Well as I said, it just comes down to this question that the legislature by about a 2-to-1 margin wants to move this question forward to the federal courts," Dalrymple explains.  "And it kind of became clear to me that I can't provide the answers they are looking for from the Governor's office those answers can only come from the federal courts."

With all of the media and social media attention, the Governor was asked if he feels signing the three anti-abortion bills into law went against his oath to defend the United States and North Dakota Constitution. Governor Dalrymple says he feels comfortable that signing the bills instead of vetoing them.

"The constitutionality of these bills is certainly an open question otherwise they wouldn't be headed where they're going. We know that the Supreme Court of the United States has allowed for some restrictions on abortion basically after 24 weeks of gestation they're saying it's ok to outlaw abortions. Now that they've done that it's legitimate for people to ask additional questions, how about 20 weeks, how about some restrictions on doctors, and that's basically an open question in terms of the constitution. The Supreme Court has never ruled on that precise question."

Finally, as advocates for women's rights across the state of North Dakota and across the country voice their opinions on abortion and women's reproductive rights, the topic of the First Lady is bound to come up. When asked if Governor Jack Dalrymple discussed the abortion bills with is wife, Betsy, and what her input is, the Governor says his wife is one of hundreds of people he's talked to about the bill.

"Unfortunately only I can decide whether or not I'm going to put a signature on a bill. There are very, very strong feelings on both sides of this question and both sides have very legitimate points that they make."

After answering Valley News Live's final question, the Governor talks about the future of the three anti-abortion bills he signed into law.

"I am concerned that this may not produce any great change and that there will be expenses involved, but you know I thought that through as part of the process and when you put those weighty questions about when life begins up against cost you have to say that these are important enough questions to put forward."

To see the entire interview, watch 6:30 Point of View Tuesday night on KX4.

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