North Dakota Legislators File Bill to Ban Abortions if Roe Reversed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

North Dakota Legislators File Bill to Ban Abortions if Roe Reversed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 22
, 2007

Bismarck, ND ( — Four North Dakota state legislators have filed a bill that would prohibit most abortions, leaving it legal only in extremely rare cases when it might be necessary to save the life of the mother. The legislation, known as a trigger law, would go into effect once the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Rep. James Kerzman, a Democrat, is the primary sponsor of the measure and he said unborn children must be protected in all circumstances, even if a pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

"My parents raised me to accept all life, and I have never questioned that," he told the Bismarck Tribune newspaper.

Another Democrat, Rep. Ralph Metcalf, and two Republicans, Sen. Randel Christmann and Sen. Robert Erbele, are also co-sponsoring the bill.

The state legislature has defeated previous abortion bans — 69-19 in 2005 and 79-13 in 2003, but those bills sought to prohibit abortions outright rather than making them illegal once Roe is reversed. They also did not contain an exception protecting the life of the mother.

The past bills also put in place fines and prison terms for women, which Kerzman’s measure doesn’t have.

As a result, Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said the group is more likely to support the bill. Dodson expects more legislators to support it as well.

"The woman is second victim in the abortion tragedy," Dodson told the Tribune newspaper.

The measure will have a hearing Monday morning the House Judiciary Committee.

Other states are considering trigger laws as well, including Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah.

Last June, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco signed a trigger law for that state and Dorinda Bordlee, a long-time pro-life attorney and vice president of the Bioethics Defense Fund, told other states should follow Louisiana’s lead.

"Our approach to include a post-Roe activation clause, sometimes called a trigger clause, enabled the legislators to speak their hearts without abortion industry lawyer’s breathing down their backs," Bordlee explained.

"It allowed post-abortive women to educate the legislators about how abortion negatively impacted their lives in profound ways," Bordlee added. "Other states that choose to follow Louisiana’s lead will help build a consensus to reverse Roe."

Related web sites:
Bioethics Defense Fund –