Forum staff reports, Published February 16 2012
Fargo judge keeps abortion law blockedFARGO – A Fargo district judge decided Thursday to keep an injunction in effect against a North Dakota state law that would limit medication-induced abortions, saying the law was an impediment for women seeking abortions.
Judge Wickham Corwin said the law creates an “insurmountable barrier” to abortion for some women.
The injunction will stay in effect until a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law is resolved.
The law, which was supposed to take effect last August, would have required any drug used to induce abortions to be labeled for that purpose by the FDA. One of two drugs commonly used in combination to induce abortions is not labeled for that purpose.
Opponents of the law say it would unconstitutionally curtail a women’s right to an abortion by forcing them to seek more invasive, more expensive surgical procedures.
Supporters say the law was simply meant to ensure FDA regulations be followed for safety. They say it doesn’t impinge on abortion rights because women could still get abortions surgically.
The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which supports abortion rights, sued to block the law on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion provider in the state.
Corwin issued a temporary restraining order two weeks before the law was supposed to take hold in last August.
In his ruling Thursday, Corwin said the evidence suggests most medical abortions are safe and effective for early-term pregnancies. He said the state didn’t show compelling reasons for regulating the procedure.