Burgum must veto abortion ban
Decisions surrounding pregnancy resulting from rape are very personal decisions in which victims deserve a full range of options without judgment or coercion from others.
Anti-abortion politicians in North Dakota are trying to control our bodies and our lives, take away our freedom, and force their will on the rest of us. These extremist politicians, led by Sen. Janne Myrdal, are intent on banning abortion with little regard for our values or what’s best for our communities.
Today the state legislature passed SB 2150, a strident near-total abortion ban with very narrow exceptions when the woman’s life is at risk. It also contains a limited exception for victims of rape and incest that would only apply in the earliest stages of pregnancy — before many even know they are pregnant.
Decisions surrounding pregnancy resulting from rape are very personal decisions in which victims deserve a full range of options without judgment or coercion from others. For a person who has just undergone a major violation of their bodily autonomy in the form of sexual violence, being unable to access health care is a violation of human rights that compounds the initial trauma.
To be clear, abortion care should not be available only when these narrow categories apply. The idea of "exceptions" to abortion bans proves that one-size-fits-all laws don’t work. In order for our laws to address all the possible circumstances that someone who is pregnant might face, we need to end abortion bans and make access to medical care the rule, not the exception. It’s impossible to anticipate all the personal and medical circumstances that unfold during the course of a pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different. We need to acknowledge the complexities of medical decisions and respect patients’ and families’ decisions.
We all want to be able to live a safe and healthy life and to be free to define our path. We won’t be truly free until everyone can make decisions about their own bodies, lives, reproductive care and futures. Every person should have the right to control what happens to their body, and access to health care that supports their personal decisions.
Remember, North Dakota voters rejected an abortion ban at the ballot box in 2014 by an overwhelming 2:1 margin. The message was clear, politicians shouldn’t be in control of our lives, we should. Yet here we are again. For all of these reasons, Gov. Doug Burgum must veto SB 2150.
Prairie Action ND is a communication and digital advocacy organization working to advance progressive solutions for local communities and for the state.