What’s next in ND with Roe v. Wade overturn?

Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 11:05 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The issue of abortion now lies in individual states’ hands after a 5-4vote by the Supreme Court overturned roe versus wade Friday, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

“It is so heartbreaking and upsetting to know how many people’s lives will be irrevocably altered by the court’s decision today,” Libby Skarin, ACLU of ND’s Campaign Director said.

Experts say the ruling by the Supreme Court was one they saw coming thanks to a leaked draft last month, but also say the overturn is an unprecedented move in the high court.

“The court does not take away rights once they are granted,” Skarin said. “Lawyers will tell you, precedent is important and when a court applies a fundamental right, they’re not taking it back, that ground has shifted. That fundamental understanding of how the Supreme Court operates is no longer something we can rely on.”

Skarin says Roe v. Wade’s overturn is just the first domino to fall, as she explained the right to abortion in the constitution before Friday’s decision was grounded in the right to privacy. However, now at least one justice is stating other decisions that stem from that right should also be overturned, including the right to contraception and same-sex marriage

“This decision itself is about abortion, but there are so many things that could flow from it that it’s a frightening moment to consider what it might mean for the future,” she said.

For North Dakota, a 2007 trigger ban law means abortion becomes illegal in the state 30 days after the Attorney General certifies to legislative council that the overturn is final. Until then, abortion is still legal in the state.

“We are looking at abortion being illegal in North Dakota within a month if not slightly later than that,” Skarin said.

Once illegal, those caught performing an abortion face up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, which is a point many in the Valley can’t, and say they will never be able to agree upon.

“Why should nine people sitting in Washington tell me in Fargo, North Dakota what I can and can’t do? That isn’t what freedom is,” Rhonda Bormann said.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion, but it’d be nice if people could come to the floor and say it isn’t about left versus right, it’s about life and what it means to be a human being,” Steven Hanel said.

Activists say they expect the overturn to be overturned again, eventually, and in the meantime they say they will continue to fight.

Supporters on both sides say the next months will be spent focusing on local legislators and laws that are put forward in next year’s special sessions, as well talking with those running for office.

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