The Supreme Court issued a shameful ruling today overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago. The court’s decision means abortion soon will become a criminal act in North Dakota, thanks to a trigger law that’s been on the books since 2007.
Additionally, the ruling in this case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will set off a chain reaction with states banning abortion and criminalizing essential care throughout entire regions of the country. Half the states in the country are expected to ban abortion, denying the 36 million women and other people who can become pregnant the fundamental right to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent.
Because of the state’s trigger law, North Dakotans will have fewer rights than people in other states in this country. The ACLU of North Dakota is working with partners and providers to respond to this ruling and fight back.
“Anti-abortion politicians have put North Dakota on the wrong side of history for too long, and the ACLU is determined not to let them off the hook,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns director. “The ACLU of North Dakota is mobilizing supporters to make sure that these anti-abortion politicians feel the consequences of their brazen disregard for our rights. Politicians who do not believe in protecting the civil rights and liberties of their constituents have no business in governors’ mansions, in state attorneys general’s offices or in state legislatures. The path to taking back our rights is long, but the ACLU will be there every step of the way until we all have the power to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.”
Banning abortion will have an immediate and devastating impact on women and all people who can become pregnant, taking from them a right that has been central to their ability to plan their lives, families, and careers. But the burdens will disproportionately fall on Black and Brown people, people struggling to make ends meet, those who are already parenting, folks in rural areas, Indigenous people, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit folks, and young people. This opinion will also lead to pregnancy losses being subject to suspicion, investigation, and arrest, and patients and doctors facing charges and jail.
As some North Dakotans have already experienced due to severe obstacles to abortion care, banning abortion leaves many with no other option than to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy against their will has life-altering consequences, including enduring serious health risks from continued pregnancy and childbirth, making it harder to escape poverty, derailing their education and career plans, and making it more difficult to leave an abusive partner.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is deeply painful to all of us who believe that the right to control our own bodies and to make such deeply personal decisions is ours, not the government’s,” Skarin said. “Make no mistake: Politicians won’t stop here. The same anti-abortion extremists seeking to control the bodies of pregnant people are coming for our right to access birth control and gender-affirming care, marry who we love, and vote. While the courts are letting anti-abortion politicians attack our fundamental rights, they don’t get the final say — we do.”
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.