Judge blocks North Dakota’s trigger abortion ban

A judge blocked North Dakota’s trigger abortion ban on Wednesday, allowing the state’s sole remaining abortion clinic to continue offering the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

North Dakota’s ban makes it illegal for an abortion to be performed in the state unless it’s necessary save the patient’s life. Exceptions are also made in cases of incest or rape, according to The Associated Press. 

At issue is whether North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R) correctly interpreted text on the necessary steps to “trigger” the legislation.

The ban becomes effective on the 30th day after “the attorney general certifies to the legislative council the issuance of the judgment in any decision of the United States Supreme Court which, in whole or in part, restores states authority to prohibit abortion.”

Wrigley took that step on June 28, but plaintiffs in the case argued that he acted prematurely and that it takes 25 days after the Supreme Court’s opinion for the court to hand down an official judgement.

The filing claims that the North Dakota attorney general believes that the dates that the high court signs its opinion and when it issues its judgement are the same.

Judge Bruce Romanick sided with the plaintiffs, arguing that “although exceedly rare, during the time for a petition for rehearing, the Supreme Court could alter or amend its original judgment and decisions, thereby rendering the original opinion moot.”

“Without the formal certification of the Supreme Court’s opinion, the lower courts cannot be guaranteed of the finality of the Supreme Court’s decision,” he added.

The temporary restraining order comes one month after the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to abortion, creating a patchwork of state laws, including more than a dozen so-called trigger bans, many of which have been paused pending litigation.

The Hill has reached out to Wrigley’s office for comment. 

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