Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Judge asked for a restraining order against North Dakota's new abortion law

Jeff Beach, North Dakota Monitor

Lawyers for the Red River Women’s Health Clinic have asked a South Central district judge for a restraining order against North Dakota’s new abortion law.

The law was passed in the 2023 Legislative session.

The clinic’s lawyers say the law is unconstitutional. They argued the law is too restrictive, and can prevent a woman from receiving necessary medical care, involving an abortion, in time to prevent major health consequences for the woman.

Attorney Meetra Mehdizadeh of the Center for Reproductive Rights argued for the clinic. She said the standard of “reasonable medical judgement” is not clear, in terms of how sick or near death the woman must be before a doctor can perform an abortion -- and argued it should be replaced by “good faith medical judgement.”

"If a women wants to stay in North Dakota, and get treatment from their doctor, in their own community, they will have to wait until they have some symptoms of health damage to obtain an abortion," Mehdizadeh argued. "Or they can travel out of state, during a major medical event, to receive care from a new provider, who they do not have a pre-existing relationship with, in a place where they may not have any social or familial support — all at added cost."

Special Assistant Attorney General Dan Gaustad argued that the plaintiffs want the statute to be rewritten – something a judge cannot do.

"They're asking you to change the definition, instead of 'reasonable medical judgement,' to 'good faith medical judgement,'" Gaustad said. "They don't give a definition of what 'good faith medical judgement ' is."

Judge Bruce Romanick has taken the motion under advisement.