Judge again denies North Dakota's request to let abortion ban take effect
Bismarck judge Bruce Romanick wrote in an order that "the court is not convinced by the state's argument that it was required to fully flesh out whether either party had a 'substantial probability of succeeding'" in the case.
BISMARCK — A Bismarck judge has once again refused North Dakota's request to allow an abortion ban to take effect in the state.
Last month, Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick granted a request for a preliminary injunction made by the Red River Women’s Clinic, which was the state’s only abortion clinic until a recent move to Moorhead.
The injunction blocking the abortion ban is to remain in effect until a further court order or the end of litigation in the case, Romanick wrote in the Aug. 25 order.
In a brief filed earlier this month, state lawyers contended that Romanick should lift the stay on the abortion ban because the state is likely to succeed in the case on appeal.
In his denial of the request on Thursday, Sept. 22, Romanick wrote that "the court is not convinced by the state's argument that it was required to fully flesh out whether either party had a 'substantial probability of succeeding'" in the case.
Attorney General Drew Wrigley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2007, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state within 30 days if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The 15-year-old legislation was triggered by the high court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in June.
The Red River Women’s Clinic sued the state in July after Wrigley set off a 30-day countdown by certifying the Supreme Court’s decision.
In July, Romanick temporarily blocked the ban a day before it was due to take effect, saying Wrigley's certification was premature.
The trigger law would make it a Class C felony for anyone to perform an abortion, unless a pregnant female performs an abortion on herself. A Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Performing an abortion would still be permitted if the mother's life is in danger and in cases of rape or incest, though a provider may still have to prove in court the procedure was justified.