Judge overturns b.s. ban on medical abortion

northdakotacapitolHere’s some good ovaries-related news, for a change. A North Dakota judge struck down a ban on medical abortions Monday. East Central Judge Wickham Corwin ruled that the 2011 state law outlawing the two drugs used in medical abortions was “simply wrongheaded” and violated the North Dakota and United States Constitution. Corwin wrote that “no compelling state interest justifies this infringement …” He also criticized an expert witness for the defense, Dr. Donna Harrison, the president the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, whose “opinions lack scientific support, tend to be based on unsubstantiated concerns and are generally at odds with solid medical evidence.”

This is great news for the state’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is representing them. Medical abortions make up approximately a quarter of abortions in the first nine weeks and are considered safe and effective. According to the CRR, the ban  “needlessly forc[es] women seeking an abortion to undergo surgery even when such a procedure may be medically inadvisable.”

This sucks (yay!) for the state, which has spent over $52,000 trying to defend the law and, you know, take away women’s reproductive and constitutional rights.

But there’s more work to be done. The CRR has filed a lawsuit against North Dakota’s draconian fetal heartbeat bill, which bans abortion at as early as 6 weeks and would make North Dakota the only state outlawing the abortion of a fetus with a genetic defect. Really, North Dakota? In the words of Frances McDormand’s North Dakotan character Marge Gunderson in the film Fargo, “I just think I’m gonna barf.” (quote at 1:36)


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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