North Dakota’s Draconian New Laws

Elisabeth Garber-Paul

North Dakota's House Bill 1371 requires doctors to show an ultrasound to a pregnant woman before she is allowed to go through with the procedure. Infantilizing towards the woman? Sure. Assuming that a woman doesn’t have long conversations and ambivalent thoughts about making this hard decision? This is nothing new.

Yesterday, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven signed two anti-abortion bills into law. The first, House Bill 1371, requires doctors to show an ultrasound to a pregnant woman before she is allowed to go through with the procedure. Infantilizing towards the woman? Sure. Assuming that a woman doesn’t have long conversations and ambivalent thoughts about making this hard decision? This is nothing new.

However, according to LifeNews.com, there’s an even more troubling bill, HB 1445, that’s made its way through. “The other measure requires the lone abortion center in the state to tell women considering an abortion that it will destroy the life of an unborn child, a unique human being.”

This goes above and beyond infantilization, straight into unquestionably offensive. Now, doctors at the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only clinic this will apply to, have to tell them that the procedure is murder.

I’m sorry, Republicans, but where are you keeping your love for small government these days? Or does legislating opinions fit right in with free markets and the right to bear arms?

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Better than arguing ideology, Kelli Conlin, the President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and NARAL Pro-Choice New York, decided to stick to the numbers—and reported that not only to these preventative measures not cut down on abortion rates, but they actually increase third-trimester abortions because there are so many more hoops for women to jump through. In an article on Huffington Post yesterday, Conlin explained the recent study.

A Guttmacher Institute paper released today ("The Impact of State Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Period Laws on Abortion: A Literature Review") once and for all validates the pro-choice community’s opposition to obstacles like waiting periods and mandatory counseling sessions, finding that they do not reduce abortion rates, but rather cause unnecessary burdens. With the exception of one state that saw a decrease in abortions overall—though, critically, along with a concurrent increase in second-trimester abortions—not a single restriction showed any evidence of decreasing abortions.

Perhaps we should try different approaches to reduce abortion rates—other than simple scare tactics, especially if it leads women to entering into even riskier procedures. Seems like an ideal time for preventative measures. Subsidizing birth control for the poor, could work. Simply updating the sexual education methods would probably help prevent more abortions than guilt-tripping a scared woman trying to make the right choice for her and her future.

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