James Kerian: Despite Setback Pro Life Laws Have Fared Well In Court


“I believe Roe v. Wade should be repealed. I believe federal law should declare that life begins at conception. And I believe states should regulate the enforcement of this law, as they do other laws against violence.” – Dr Ron Paul

When the North Dakota legislature passed (with bi-partisan support) four pro life bills during the 2013 session the Forum Editorial Board demanded that Governor Dalrymple veto all of them:

“They constitute a guarantee of lengthy court challenges that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, and the state will certainly lose.”

The governor ignored their demands and signed all four bills.  SB 2368 prohibited abortion past the 20th week of the child’s development.  SB 2305 required those who would perform abortions to first acquire emergency room admitting privileges.  HB 1305 prohibited abortions for the purpose of gender/disability discrimination.  Finally, HB 1456 prohibited abortions when the about-to-be-born child is so thoroughly developed that their heartbeat can be detected.

The Forum Editorial Board, it turns out, isn’t much better at telling the future than a typical psychic hotline.  After winning victories at district conventions, in the June primary, in the November general election, in the ND House of Representatives, in the ND Senate, in the Governor’s office and in the office of the Attorney General; pro lifers then continued to rack up victories in both District Court and at the ND Supreme Court.  The result is that the first three of the four bills listed above are in place, in effect, and no longer facing any legal challenge whatsoever.

HB 1456, the heartbeat bill, has hit a setback.  Last week a three judge panel for the 8th circuit court of appeals struck down a very similar law in Arkansas.  Since the same three judges are currently reviewing HB 1456 it is very likely that they will reach the same conclusion again.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]The Forum Editorial Board and other cheerleaders for the abortion industry can be expected to latch onto this lone success (as any hotline psychic would).[/mks_pullquote]

The Forum Editorial Board and other cheerleaders for the abortion industry can be expected to latch onto this lone success (as any hotline psychic would).  They will, undoubtedly, proclaim their gravest concern (yet again) for fiscal conservatism as they lament the money that is spent by the Attorney General in defense of these laws.  They will, of course, neglect to mention that so far defense of all four of these laws has yet to exceed 0.005% of the state’s budget.

It is nearly certain that the Forum will trot out Democrat leaders and a few RINO abortion advocates to urge Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem not to appeal the decision on HB 1456 to the US Supreme Court.  Last year abortion advocates tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade Stenehjem not to “throw more money down the rat-hole to defend North Dakota’s unconstitutional abortion law” when his office first lost a case in District Court.  Stenehjem decided to appeal that ruling anyway and he went on to win (as referenced above) at the ND Supreme Court.  Hopefully the AG will keep that experience in mind and continue to defend this bi-partisan legislation.

I do not claim to know if the US Supreme Court will grant cert for this case or (if they do) what the final outcome will be.  It has been twenty-three years since the last major SCOTUS decision affirming abortion and the court has overturned its previous decisions on multiple occasions.  Even abortion advocates generally acknowledge that at least four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are likely to uphold a law like North Dakota’s heartbeat bill.  Unlike the Forum Editorial Board, however, I have never claimed to know for certain the outcome of court cases that have not yet even been heard.

I do know that both pro life advocates and even the director of the state’s abortion clinic have stated that the victories listed above (both in the capital building and in court) have resulted in a decline in the number of children killed by abortion in this state.  I do know that the pro life movement will continue to provide care and support for mothers facing crisis pregnancies and their children.  I do know that one day we will extend equal protection under the law to about-to-be-born children.