*This piece is cross posted on The Huffington Post
Last March, North Dakota enacted a blatantly unconstitutional and downright archaic law completely banning abortions very early in the first trimester, before many women will even know they are pregnant.
This criminal abortion ban flies directly in the face of women's fundamental and constitutionally-protected right to control their bodies and reproductive health. Since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, hostile state politicians have continually chipped away at the rights afforded by that decision by enacting restrictions that limit women's access to abortion. But with this absolute ban, North Dakota is not just chipping away. It's grabbing sledgehammer.
North Dakota's law bans abortion as early as just six weeks of pregnancy and makes felons of doctors who perform abortions after that point. But as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently stated, a law banning abortions prior to being viable outside the woman's uterus is "unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of Supreme Court authority, beginning with Roe and ending with Gonzales [v. Carhart]."
So why is North Dakota doing this? The answer lies within the public statements of North Dakota politicians. Legislators supporting the new law brazenly admitted that their true goal was to ban abortion entirely, with many at the same time acknowledging the law would stand little chance in the courts. Even when Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the bill into law, he stated openly that it was likely unconstitutional, but opined that the State should be allowed to challenge Roe. To finance this nakedly political project, North Dakota set aside nearly half a million dollars in 2013 for the legal defense of its six-week ban and several other unconstitutional anti-choice bills.