Port: Whatever the courts decide, North Dakota must address its unworkable abortion ban


MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota’s near-total ban on abortions, which but for the reticence of our judicial branch of state government would be the law post-Roe v. Wade, is not good public policy.

It was introduced by Democratic lawmakers during the 2007 legislative session and passed by a bipartisan majority that, I am convinced, never believed the law would actually be enforced.

The lawmakers who voted on the law no doubt thought that Roe, gross judicial overreach that it was, would never be overturned.

But in that rarest of events in politics — a branch of government willingly giving back power it usurped — the U.S. Supreme Court turned the question of abortion back over to state legislatures where it should have been all along.

It remains to be seen whether North Dakota’s courts will bow to political pressure and magic into existence some right to an abortion in North Dakota’s constitution. However that comes out, North Dakota has some work to do on its existing statute.

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