North Dakota State House Strongly Backs Abortion Ban Trigger Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 31, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

North Dakota State House Strongly Backs Abortion Ban Trigger Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 31
, 2007

Bismarck, ND ( — The North Dakota state House approved a measure 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.

The House voted 61-26 to pass a measure (HB 1466) which would charge anyone who does an abortion with a five year prison term and a $5,000 fine.

The bill would also give parents of pregnant minors and partners of pregnant women the right to file suit to stop an abortion.

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.

Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said his group supports the bill because it doesn’t have prison terms and fines for women, like past abortions bans that the legislature has rejected.

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

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."

The North Dakota House also voted against two bills that would have added medical abortion drugs like RU 486 to state abortion regulations and another that would have banned the use of public funds for genetic testing of an unborn child unless the funds were used to provide medical treatment to both mother and child.

Also on Friday, the House also voted to reject a bill that would charge anyone who does an illegal abortion or a woman who has one with murder, the second time the legislature has defeated that kind of measure.