Correction, 4:30 pm Eastern: This post has been updated following an erroneous report from the Associate Press on the state’s “personhood” bill. We regret the error.
Whether or not North Dakota’s proposed ban on abortions at the point of about six weeks’ gestation is constitutional may end up being a moot point, thanks to a new law that will be heading to the governor’s desk shortly for signature. SB 2305 is a targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) bill that would require the state’s only abortion provider, Red River Women’s Clinic, to obtain hospital admitting privileges if its doctors wish to continue offering pregnancy terminations. The bill has now passed the state house and will soon head to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
Anti-choice legislators claim that the North Dakota TRAP bill was designed to ensure the safety of women who undergo abortions. However, first-trimester abortions have been shown to be safer than giving birth. In fact, Red River believes it may be unable to obtain hospital privileges if the law is signed in part because it has had too few complications to be accepted by one of the two local hospitals, which only offers privileges to doctors who will admit more than ten patients per year.
Also passed was a 20-week post-fertilization ban, which includes an amendment to freeze federal funds for a sex ed program for high-risk teens The new bill will now join the “gender and anomaly abortions” ban and the “heartbeat ban,” all of which will be sent to the governor. Once the bills have been sent to the governor, he has three legislative days to sign or veto the bills.
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Not heading to the governor is a bill that would have granted legal rights to fertilized eggs. Despite an Associated Press report stating that the state house passed a “personhood” bill by 57-35, the bill was actually a senate resolution for a constitutional amendment. A separate bill that would have added legal rights for fertilized eggs to the criminal code failed to pass, with 49 votes against and only 43 votes in favor.