By Olivia Slyter
Photos by Sabrina Hornung
For months, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has been asking the heavy question “Should the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade be overturned?” On May 2nd, Politico leaked a February 2022 draft of the Supreme Court ruling, revealing that they could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. The draft and original article from Politico (written by Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward) was rapidly circulated throughout the country, leading to outrage and protests from some and celebration from others.
While nearly everyone has their own thoughts about the reversal, there are still many who do not know or fully understand what Roe v. Wade is. In 1970, a lawsuit was filed by “Jane Roe” against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Jane (a fictional name used to protect the identity of the plaintiff) argued that the state laws against abortion were unconstitutional, and that they went against the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court sided with Roe in a 7-2 majority vote. Since this case, abortion has been mostly protected in the United States.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade would have detrimental effects on women’s right to abortions. Currently, abortion is protected federally. If Roe v. Wade were to be officially overturned, it would be up to individual state legislatures whether or not to restrict or ban abortion.
Currently, thirty-two states are on the docket to either restrict or completely ban abortion with the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Fourteen states (including nearby Montana, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin) are ready to ban abortion at 22 weeks or earlier. Five states (Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin) had abortion restrictions put into place prior to the ruling of Roe v. Wade that would likely be reinstated after its reversal, and thirteen states have trigger laws put into place that would ban abortion in almost all cases almost immediately after the Supreme Court releases its final ruling.
One of these states is North Dakota.
As of January 1, 2022, a multitude of restrictions were in effect in North Dakota. This includes required state-directed counseling, parental consent of minors’ choice to receive an abortion, lack of insurance coverage, and a limit of 20 weeks (potentially more if the case is life-threatening). While these restrictions are already extremely limiting, the complete ban of abortion would make legal abortions impossible in the state of North Dakota.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it would fall to the local state’s attorneys to pursue abortion cases as class C felonies, putting abortion on the level of negligent homicide.
Because of the restrictions currently put in place, there is a severe deficiency of abortion clinics in North Dakota. The Red River Womens’ Clinic located in Fargo is the only place in North Dakota where people can receive legal abortions.
Tammi Kromenaker Director of the…