North Dakota has passed an extremely strong abortion law, a law which quite obviously is incompatible with Roe v. Wade. The law bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, though without specifying what detection method would be used. Good for North Dakota. Of course it will immediately go to a court challenge. My prediction is that a lower federal court will strike the law down in a Miami minute and that SCOTUS won't bother to hear it.
Governor Dalrymple has, shall we say, finessed the question of the law's relationship to Roe v. Wade. What he says is that the law is an attempt to "discover the boundaries" of Roe and that the court has never addressed the specific issue of fetal heartbeat. There is some excuse for the governor's wording if we consider the legal and logical chaos of the totality of the High Court's abortion rulings. After all, the trimester set-up in Roe didn't survive Webster, and Casey was a legal and logical mess from every perspective. But if we put the matter more straightforwardly, the North Dakota law is blatantly incompatible with the jurisprudence of Roe, and all the better for it.
So, a few practical questions:
--Will North Dakota arrest or prosecute any abortionists under this law, or will it be enjoined too quickly for this?
--Will abortionists be spooked by this law and stop operating (specifically, at the one abortion clinic in Fargo)? Will babies' lives be saved by it?
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I don't ask these questions in a carping or sarcastic vein. I think we need more such defiant acts by the states against Roe, and I applaud the unity of the North Dakota legislature and governor in passing the law. It will be even better if an abortionist spends even a day in jail as a result, with the cooperation of the state prosecutor and courts. Doctors are risk-averse people, and we can hope that the Fargo death clinic will find it ever-harder to find ideologue "doctors" willing to murder babies there.
The ND legislature also passed a law requiring doctors to have physician privileges at a hospital, which I suppose could close down the clinic for independent reasons, with the cooperation of the hospitals in refusing to give the abortionists physician privileges.
What do readers think? What point is there in state laws that are clearly incompatible with Roe? I don't think that North Dakota is willing to go quite as far as I do and defy the federal government to the hilt, prosecuting its own laws as though Roe didn't exist and defying federal court orders. This law is, rather, a shot across the bows. What good do readers believe it will do?