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Jack Dalrymple ’70: testing Roe v. Wade

North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple ’70 has a background in farming and politics, not constitutional law. But after signing the nation’s strictest abortion laws this week, he’s likely headed to the US Supreme Court.

A Republican who won his first full term last fall, Dalrymple signed three abortion bills on March 26. The one that got all the attention, HB 1456, bans abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat—as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

“Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade,” Dalrymple said in a statement. “Because the US Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question.” He called on the legislature to appropriate money to defend the law in court.

Dalrymple also signed bills banning abortions “performed solely for the purpose of gender selection [or] genetic abnormalities,” and barring doctors from performing abortions unless they have hospital admitting privileges.

North Dakota lawmakers passed a fourth bill, banning abortions after 20 weeks “based on the disputed premise that fetuses feel pain at that point,” the Associated Press reports. Asked whether he would sign it, Dalrymple said: “I’ve already signed three bills. Draw your own conclusion.”

Filed under Jack Dalrymple, abortion
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