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District Judge Keeps N.D. Medication Abortion Law From Taking Effect

District Judge Keeps N.D. Medication Abortion Law From Taking Effect

February 21, 2012 — North Dakota District Judge Wickham Corwin on Thursday said an injunction should remain in place against a state law that bans the use of a medication abortion drug, the AP/Jamestown Sun reports (AP/Jamestown Sun, 2/16). Wickham said the law would create an "insurmountable barrier" to abortion for some women.

The law was set to take effect last August, but the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Fargo-based Red River Women's Clinic, arguing that the law unconstitutionally restricts abortion access for women (Forum of Fargo-Morehead, 2/16). Wickham said the injunction should continue while the lawsuit is being resolved (AP/Jamestown Sun, 2/16).

The law mandates that any drug used to induce abortion must meet FDA protocols and that its label must state it is intended for use in abortion care. The law would prohibit the use of misoprostol -- one of the two drugs used in medication abortion -- because the drug is labeled for the treatment of stomach ulcers (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/30).

Supporters of the law say it is meant ensure that FDA safety regulations are followed. They contend that the measure does not infringe on a woman's right to an abortion because surgical abortion would still be available (Forum of Fargo-Morehead, 2/16).