North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, signed three new anti-abortion bills today, virtually banning abortion in the state and giving North Dakota the most restrictive laws in the country.
One bill would ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy -- before many women know they're pregnant. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the director of the state's only clinic have all but promised to sue to block this measure. Another bill signed today that will certainly be challenged in court targets that one remaining clinic with new regulations designed to shut it down. The third bill would ban abortions for certain reasons -- including fetal abnormality -- meaning doctors would be required to question women about why they're seeking an abortion.
In his signing statement, Governor Dalrymple indicated that he understood that signing this legislation would mean going to court and spending public money. In the paragraph describing the six-week ban, he wrote:
The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.
Both houses of the North Dakota legislature have already passed a ban on abortion starting at 20 weeks. That bill was amended in the House to include a mechanism to defund a federally funded Planned Parenthood sex-ed program. That bill will go to conference committee before it goes to the governor.
(On the show last night: outsiders push North Dakota politics rightward.)