North Dakota ‘Human Dismemberment Abortion’ Ban (HB 1546)
This law was last updated on Apr 13, 2019
HB 1546 prohibits a person from intentionally performing a “human dismemberment abortion.”
The bill defines “human dismemberment abortion” to mean:
[…]intentionally dismembering a living unborn child and extracting the unborn child one piece at a time from a uterus, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp the head, arm, leg, spinal cord, internal organ, or other portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off, regardless if the fetal body parts are removed by the same instrument, suction, or other means.
Except in the case of a medical emergency, it would be a class C felony for an individual to intentionally perform such a procedure.
This law targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an abortion using suction aspiration can be performed up to 14 weeks’ gestation, but after 14 weeks the D and E procedure must be used to perform an abortion. As such, dilation and evacuation bans, depending upon their language, may ban all surgical abortion past 14 weeks’ gestation. (Source.)
The bill will not take effect until a federal appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court allows its enforcement.
Abortion Ban Trigger Law
The bill also amends the state’s 2007 law that triggers a statewide abortion ban if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. The original trigger law will only take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and after the attorney general recommends—and the Legislative Council agrees—that the abortion ban would be constitutional.
This bill removes the attorney general and legislative council requirement and instead would make the law effective 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.
1/14/19 – Introduced; referred to Human Services Committee.
1/31/19 – Passed the House by a 78-13 vote.
3/29/19 – Amended; Passed the Senate by a 39-7 vote.
4/3/19 – Concurred in House by a 79-12 vote.
4/10/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.
- National Right to Life Committee — Drafted Model Law