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At the last possible moment, Judge issues preliminary injunction against North Dakota’s Trigger law

by | Aug 26, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

For the second time in a month, Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick waited until the last minute to put a hold on North Dakota’s trigger law which bans abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Judge Romanick granted the request for a preliminary injunction as part of a lawsuit brought by the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the state’s lone abortion clinic.

“The lawsuit argues that the state constitution’s guarantees of rights to life, liberty, safety and happiness effectively guarantee a right to abortion,” according to Dave Kolpack of The Associated Press.

“The ban was set to take effect Friday,” Kolpack explained. “The clinic already moved its services a short distance to neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal, even as it seeks to block the North Dakota law.”

Judge Romanick ruled that even though the Red River Women’s Clinic had moved, the clinic “is not the only entity or individual which would be affected. The statute would implicate others, including physicians at regional hospitals if it were to go into effect.”

Clinic attorney Tom Dickson told the AP that his team was “gratified” by the ruling.

“The right of women to make the decisions affecting their personal autonomy should be guaranteed by the North Dakota Constitution,” Dickson told Kolpack.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley told Jeremy Turley of Forum News Service  that

the state is undeterred by Romanick’s order, which “temporarily pauses this abortion regulation from taking effect.”

“The merits of the law will be reviewed by the courts up ahead, and the Attorney General’s office will continue our efforts to ensure the eventual enforcement of the bi-partisan provision signed into law back in 2007,” Wrigley said in a statement

In 2007, North Dakota “passed a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state within 30 days if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision,” Turley reported. “The 15-year-old legislation was triggered by the high court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in June.”

Judge Romanick ruled last month that Attorney General Drew Wrigley was premature in setting a July 28 closing date “and issued a temporary restraining order that effectively gave the clinic time to move to Moorhead without a gap in services.”

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