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"Bans off our bodies" protests planned for this weekend in North Dakota

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Demonstrations will take place in Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks.

This weekend activists across the country are taking part in a national day of action to demonstrate support for safe, legal abortion care.

Four such protests will be taking place in North Dakota – in Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo. These protests have been organized following a leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion earlier this month that supports the overturn of Roe vs. Wade.

Kristie Wolff is Executive Director of the North Dakota Women’s Network. She says if this leak is true, it would erase nearly 50 years of legal precedent and federal protections for abortion. She says the law is about the right to privacy – and that most Americans support it.

"We do know data shows time after time, the majority of Americans don't want abortion to be totally banned. They don't want Roe to go away. In fact, we can even see it in the personhood initiative that was in front of North Dakota voters several years ago. That was voted down by North Dakota voters. It's not something people want."

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, it could enact trigger bans in 26 states, including North Dakota. Wolff says the Attorney General would determine when and if the ban could take effect. Abortion clinics would then have 30 days to close their doors.

Wolff says ultimately, overturning Roe vs. Wade interferes with private decisions made between health care providers and their patients.

"We seek to improve the health and well being of all women, and we advocate to ensure access to all reproductive services and education. We do know that there are ways to lower abortion rates, and we're willing to fight for those - and we do fight for those policies. Banning health care procedures is not the way - it does not stop abortions, it stops safe abortions."

The protests will take place this Saturday, May 14 at 10am at the State Capitol in Bismarck, Independence Park in Grand Forks and Oak Park Shelter 9 in Minot. Fargo’s protest will take place at City Hall at 6pm.