We are thrilled and relieved that North Dakota’s House Bill 1456, the most extreme abortion ban in the United States, has been permanently blocked. Via our colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights, some background on the law:
North Dakota’s HB 1456—which was signed into law by Governor Jack Dalrymple in March 2013—is the earliest and most extreme abortion ban in the nation, making virtually all abortions in the state illegal as early as six weeks of pregnancy. The Center for Reproductive Rights and Thomas A. Dickson of the Dickson Law Office in Bismarck filed the lawsuit in June 2013 challenging the ban on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinic—the state’s sole abortion provider. A federal district court judge temporarily blocked the ban in July 2013 and then permanently blocked the law in April 2014, noting “the United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.”
Our board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood had this to say on the ruling’s significance:
“As physicians caring for the nation’s women, we applaud the ruling from the federal appeals court that confirms what we know: Decisions about reproductive health and well-being should be left to a woman and her doctor. Politicians have no place in my patient’s exam room, and their bans on safe, legal abortion deny women access to critical medical care, injuring their health and insulting their dignity. With the courts upholding time and again American women’s right to access abortion care, we physicians hope that politicians will stop interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and instead focus on issues that can actually improve women’s health.”
“A woman’s options shouldn’t be dictated by how much money she makes. It’s time to put an end to this discriminatory practice. It is not just a matter of fairness, it is a matter of justice.” – Dr. Willie Parker
Physicians for Reproductive Health joined a large coalition today in praising the introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Diane DeGette (D-CO), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) along with 66 cosponsors to ensure that every woman insured through the federal government can have access to abortion care. The EACH Woman Act will overturn the Hyde Amendment that for over 40 years has barred coverage of abortion for these women. This includes not only those who have Medicaid insurance, but also those who are insured through the Indian Health Service, serve in the military or the Peace Corps, or hold federal government jobs.
Read Physicians board chair-elect Dr. Willie Parker‘s entire statement here.