Rick Berg Anti Abortion Bill: In North Dakota, Anti Choice Legislation is the Norm

North Dakota

One hotly contested U.S. Senate seat is being eyed by North Dakota Democrat and former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp and Republican at-large Representative and former State Representative Rick Berg. In September, in the midst of the Akin and Mourdock and whoever else scandals, BuzzFeed broke the “news” that in 2007, Berg voted for a bill in the North Dakota State House that would have made “any woman who obtained an abortion guilty of a homicide crime — even if it were in the case of rape or incest.” The bill would have made seeking an abortion a Class AA felony, carrying a maximum sentence of life without parole.

Heitkamp was tied with Berg in a Mason-Dixon poll conducted in early October. However, more recent polling has Berg with a five to 10 point lead.

This extreme legislation hardly seems out of place in North Dakota. In 2011, the State House passed the Defense of Human Life Act, a Personhood bill that would have made abortion at all stages of pregnancy illegal. It would also “ban the destruction of human embryos that are created when a woman’s egg is fertilized outside her body.” It passed 68-25 in the House but was tabled in the Senate, thanks to Republican in-fighting.

Also last year, the legislature managed to pass a law effectively banning all medication abortion. The law was taken to court and opponents succeeded in winning a restraining order against its implementation, later seeking an injunction on grounds that it places an undue burden on women seeking medication abortions. The ban is still blocked by the injunction; the lawsuit has yet to be resolved.

North Dakota also requires parental consent, a 24-hour waiting period and state-directed counseling. The state limits public and private insurance coverage for abortion, and bans telemedicine and almost all public funding.

North Dakota elects a governor this year, and the Republican ticket is heavily favored in the latest polling (somewhere between a 14 and 30 point lead); neither are Republicans likely to give up their overwhelming control of the State House and Senate.

Editor's Note: With 12 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana ,Arkansas, Missouri, KentuckyMinnesotaIllinoisIowaMississippiMichigan, Indiana, Alabama, OhioFloridaGeorgiaD.C.South CarolinaNorth CarolinaVirginia and MarylandPennsylvaniaDelawareNew JerseyNew YorkWisconsinConnecticutVermont,  Massachusetts & Rhode IslandMaine & New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Audrey Farber

After graduating from some prestigious university somewhere, I worked for academic research, social justice, and arts non-profits in the U.S., Israel, Jordan. I formerly ran a collective blogging project and contributed to Middle East-oriented discussions around the interwebs until I gave up on changing the world. I usually believe in complete social revolution and I make it a point to flout every social expectation I encounter. I do this by living in the Rocky Mountains (for realz) and complaining about tourists, enjoying waffles for dinner, putting easter egg links in my posts, and wishing I was way nerdier. I also like to think I'm the funniest person you've ever met, which may or may not be true. I've also driven across the country by myself more times than I'd care to admit.

MORE FROM

‘Game of Thrones’ gives fans the feminist sex scene we’ve waited seven seasons for

The women of Westeros are reclaiming agency — over the seven kingdoms and over their own bodies.

‘Girls Trip’ made more money in one weekend in the US than ‘Rough Night’ did in a month

'Girls Trip' and 'Rough Night' have roughly the same plot, but one features a black cast while the other is white.

Women beer drinkers finally get the Beer for Her they never asked for

Why drink a rugged manly beer when you can have Aurosa's pink girly beer instead?!

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

‘Game of Thrones’ gives fans the feminist sex scene we’ve waited seven seasons for

The women of Westeros are reclaiming agency — over the seven kingdoms and over their own bodies.

‘Girls Trip’ made more money in one weekend in the US than ‘Rough Night’ did in a month

'Girls Trip' and 'Rough Night' have roughly the same plot, but one features a black cast while the other is white.

Women beer drinkers finally get the Beer for Her they never asked for

Why drink a rugged manly beer when you can have Aurosa's pink girly beer instead?!

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.