A North Dakota judge Wednesday blocked enforcement of the state's "trigger" ban on abortions, allowing the lone abortion provider in the state to resume services after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion.
Red River Women's Clinic, the last abortion clinic in the Midwestern state, can resume abortion care as the case proceeds in Burleigh County District Court.
Lawmakers in North Dakota in 2007 put in place the so-called "trigger" law intended to take effect if the high court reversed its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed access to abortion in the United States.
Judge Bruce Romanick issued the temporary injunction in favor of the abortion clinic in response to a suit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and Dickson Law Office.
The Red River clinic contends the law violates its patients' rights to life, safety, and happiness under the state Constitution.
"If allowed to go into effect, this near-total abortion ban would close the state's sole abortion clinic, leaving North Dakotans with no clinic within the state to turn for essential health care," Meetra Mehdizadeh of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement.
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley could not be immediately reached for comment.
The near-total ban bars pregnancies from being terminated in most cases, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or to protect a pregnant woman's life. It also makes it a felony for doctors to perform the procedure.
North Dakota is one of 13 states with trigger laws that were set to take effect if Roe were reversed, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.
The Supreme Court on June 24 overruled the nearly 50-year precedent and allowed states to prevent women from terminating their pregnancies, promoting a flurry of litigation in state courts.
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