April 28, 2023

North Dakota Gov. Signs Law to Clear Up Language in "Trigger" and Heartbeat Laws

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R)
On April 24, North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum signed a bill designed to protect unborn children from abortion after the state supreme court struck down earlier pro-life laws.

North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Jon Jensen wrote in the majority decision last month, “While the regulation of abortion is within the authority of the legislature under the North Dakota Constitution, RRWC has demonstrated likely success on the merits that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in the limited instances of life-saving and health-preserving circumstances, and the statute is not narrowly tailored to satisfy strict scrutiny.”

The new legislation intends to clean up language in the state's "trigger" bill and heartbeat bill so that they will survive judicial scrutiny. Under the new standards, abortion would be prohibited at all gestational ages with exceptions for women facing "death or serious health risk." There is also an exception to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest during the first six weeks of gestation.

This bill clarifies and refines existing state law which was triggered into effect by the (U.S. Supreme Court) Dobbs decision and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,” Gov. Burgum said in a statement.

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