Skip to main content

Federal court declares North Dakota's abortion law unconstitutional


A U.S. District Court has struck down North Dakota's law banning abortions as early as six weeks after conception.

The law passed last year made abortions illegal as soon as a fetus' heartbeat could be detected. In the decision issued Wednesday Judge Daniel Hovland called the law unconstitutional.

As the Associated Press notes, Hovland wrote: "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." The AP says fetuses are usually viable at about 22 to 24 weeks.

The suit challenging the law was filed last June by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women's Clinic. That clinic in Fargo is the only North Dakota facility that provides abortions. Its director tells MSNBC the clinic serves a number of women from Minnesota and South Dakota, as well.

Tammi Kroemenaker called Wednesday's court ruling a relief and told the network: "We will continue to provide services in our state, because women still need those services.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights issued a statement lauding the ruling.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem told the AP he will take some time to digest the ruling and confer with Gov. Jack Dalrymple before deciding whether to appeal the ruling. Stenehjem said he was not surprised by Wednesday's ruling, particularly since Judge Hovland had issued an injunction last summer blocking the law from taking effect until he ruled on the legal challenge.

The measure known as the "heartbeat law" was part of a package of three bills Gov. Dalrymple signed last year that collectively gave North Dakota the strongest anti-abortion laws in the country.

Judge Hovland 's ruling is 25 pages long. It's available here.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.


3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.


North Dakota Higher Ed Board challenging Fighting Sioux law in court

The Legislature last year passed a law requiring the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname. The state Attorney General believes the law is unconstitutional. Now the Board of Higher Education has voted to challenge it with a lawsuit.