UPDATE: Senate Passes Two Anti-Abortion Bills, Mathern Amendment Backfires


The ND State Senate passed two anti-abortion bills in floor session on Monday.

SB 2368 would forbid abortions with limited exceptions after 20 weeks of gestation, which is the timeframe at which a fetus can feel pain. The bill passed 30-17.

UPDATE: Votes for SB 2368 were as follows:

(R) Andrist; Armstrong; Berry; Bowman; Burckhard; Campbell; Carlisle; Cook; Dever; Erbele; Hogue; Kilzer; Klein; Laffen; Larsen; Lee, G.; Luick; Miller; Poolman; Schaible; Sitte; Sorvaag; Unruh; Wanzek; Wardner

(D) Dotzenrod; Grabinger; Mathern; O’Connell; Robinson

(R) Anderson; Flakoll; Grindberg; Holmberg; Krebsbach; Lee, J.; Lyson; Oehlke

(D) Axness; Heckaman; Marcellais; Murphy; Nelson; Schneider; Sinner; Triplett; Warner

SB 2303 made it’s second trip to the Senate floor after being referred back to this body from Appropriations without committee recommendation. Sen Tim Mathern was successful during the first floor vote on Feb 7th to add an amendment which requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to expand medicaid coverage for pregnant women to the maximum allowed under federal law, and requires medicaid equivalent coverage be provided to pregnant women who do not have private insurance and who exceed the maximum in allowed under Medicaid.

This was of course done not out of concern for mother and child, but to set 2303 up for death by fiscal note. The note, provided by DHS, placed the estimated impact to the general fund at around $9.7 million; although questions were raised whether these services are already bought, paid for, and provided by DHS today.

The bill passed by a close 24-23 vote, and will now move on to the House.

UPDATE: Votes for SB 2303 were as follows. In a review of the votes, the amendment offered by Sen Mathern actually backfired. He was the lone Democrat to vote in favor of 2303 due to his amendment, and because of this, provided the one vote needed to pass the bill.

That is not to excuse the eleven Republican’s who went against Resolution 27 of their own party platform, specifically:

… WHEREAS: The North Dakota Republican Party supports a ban on abortion.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the North Dakota Republican Party reaffirms its long-standing support of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the National Republican Party Platforms, with respect to human rights and reaffirms its historic support for the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death.

But, going against the party platform and conservative ideals is nothing new for many of those calling themselves Republican who voted NAY on 2303.

2303 votes:

(R) Andrist; Berry; Bowman; Burckhard; Campbell; Carlisle; Cook; Dever; Erbele; Hogue; Kilzer; Klein; Laffen; Larsen; Lee, G.; Luick; Miller; Schaible; Sitte; Sorvaag; Unruh; Wanzek; Wardner

(D) Mathern

(R) Anderson; Armstrong; Flakoll; Grabinger; Grindberg; Holmberg; Krebsbach; Lee, J.; Lyson; Oehlke; Poolman

(D) Axness; Dotzenrod; Heckaman; Marcellais; Murphy; Nelson; O’Connell; Robinson; Schneider; Sinner; Triplett; Warner

Both bill passages, especially 2303, were big victories for the pro-life movement in North Dakota. SB 2303 was basically the HB 1450 bill from the 2011 session which passed the House confidently, but was killed in the Senate via procedure. This action had many in the pro-life movement wondering if it was killed so Senators would not have to go on record on this bill, and Governor Dalrymple would not have to go on record whether he would sign it into law or veto it. Many also point to Sen Curtis Olafson’s role in this procedural kill of HB 1450 as the reason why he lost out to Sen Joe Miller during the redistricting race.