A North Dakota judge has ruled to temporarily block the state’s abortion ban from going into effect, claiming a constitutional challenge has a strong chance of succeeding.
Burleigh County District Court Judge Bruce Romanick offered the ruling on Monday, upholding his previous decision regarding the ban.
“Whether the North Dakota Constitution conveys a fundamental right to an abortion is an issue that is very much alive and active,” Romanick wrote in the ruling.
“This issue does not have a clear and obvious answer. Therefore, the court finds that (the Red River Women’s Clinic) has a substantial probability of succeeding on the merits through showing that there is a ‘real and substantial question’ before the court,” the decision added.
Red River Women’s Clinic of Fargo, the state’s only abortion provider, filed a lawsuit in July after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return laws regarding abortion to the states.
North Dakota was one of several states with a trigger law set to be enacted following the court’s decision. In 2007, the state legislature passed a bill that would ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
Red River Women’s Clinic raised approximately $1 million following the Supreme Court decision and moved its operations to neighboring Minnesota’s Moorhead community. It initially faced a deadline to close in Fargo by August 26 after 24 years of operation.
Romanick issued a temporary stay to the trigger law in August. The state’s Supreme Court then ordered the judge to reconsider the case, leading to yet a second temporary ban as the litigation moves forward in court.
Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, expressed her agreement with the decision in a statement to the Associated Press.
“We want physicians who are treating patients to feel like they can use their best medical judgment and training and not be looking at the law books as to how they can take care of patients,” she said.
North Dakota is not alone in facing litigation over its trigger law. In Idaho, an August ruling blocked part of the state’s abortion ban, siding with the Biden administration.
The Justice Department sued Idaho, claiming its abortion ban would stop emergency room doctors from performing abortions needed to stabilize the health of women in medical emergencies.
A federal district court in the state agreed that doctors in Idaho could not be legally punished for acting to protect the health of endangered mothers in a preliminary injunction in August.
A total of 13 states had trigger laws set to go into effect following the Supreme Court’s decision to return abortion laws to states. Several additional states have passed new laws following the decision to limit abortion. Up to 26 states are likely to strongly limit abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision.