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Opinion

North Dakota abortion law is infringement on women’s freedom

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April 4, 2013

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple recently passed a restrictive abortion law. The law states that a woman is unable to have an abortion after the first six weeks of pregnancy.

This is the earliest possible point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

In addition, if a woman in North Dakota wants to have an abortion, she is required to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound beforehand. If a heartbeat is detected in this ultrasound, she will not legally be allowed to get an abortion in the state of North Dakota. This new law tests the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, and there are many states that want this decision to be revisited.

When considering questions about abortion laws, it is important to revisit the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. When analyzed, it is apparent that the decision is truly a moderate compromise. The decision in Roe v. Wade allows women to get an abortion with virtually no barriers or restrictions during her first trimester.

North Dakota’s abortion law violates this portion of the Supreme Court’s decision. During the second trimester, however, the state can make it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion. The woman can be required to have an ultrasound, a meeting with a counselor or an alternative doctor’s visit before allowing her to get an abortion.

When a woman is in her final trimester, it is virtually impossible for her to get an abortion.

In light of Roe v. Wade’s moderate nature, the new North Dakota abortion law is completely ludicrous and should be overturned.

Many women do not know with any level of certainty if they are pregnant until they are further along in the pregnancy. By the time a woman visits her doctor to receive confirmation of her pregnancy, the six-week period easily could have passed, thus making abortion a nonexistent option for her.

Furthermore, even if a woman knows she is pregnant before the six-week mark, she will likely want a significant period of time to explore all of her options to determine if abortion is right for her. If the woman takes too long to weigh her options, the six-week period could expire, and an abortion would no longer be possible for her.

The requirement of the transvaginal ultrasound is also highly questionable. Each person has the right to makes decisions about his or her own body when it comes to organ donation, surgeries and other medical procedures. Abortion procedures are no exception. The right of a person to his or her body should not be violated by any state or federal legislature.

Mandating women seeking abortions in North Dakota to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds violates the basic right that women have to their bodies. No woman should be required to have a foreign object inserted into her body against her will to stop her from making a personal decision about her body.

While these reasons are valid and should be taken into consideration, there is a far larger motive for political elites to reconsider North Dakota’s abortion law. Making abortion illegal will not force women to stop pursing this option altogether. Women will simply pursue this option through the use of alternative, and unhealthy, outlets.

According to the Orlando Women’s Center, one woman dies every seven minutes as a result of unsafe, illegal abortion. If strict abortion laws continue to be passed by state governments, an increase in the mortality rate can be attributed to our government as a whole for ignoring the basic right that each woman has to make decisions about her body.

The most disconcerting part about North Dakota’s extremely conservative decision is that other states are already looking to follow in its footsteps. Wyoming, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi are already discussing similar bills in their state legislatures- a terrifying thought.

It is painfully obvious that North Dakota has overstepped its boundaries with the passage of its recent abortion law. Not only does the law violate the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, but it also violates the basic right that each woman has to her body

This law will cause a significant amount of harm that will have devastating implications for our nation. Allowing this abortion law to stand gives our government the ability to infringe on our freedom without restriction. The only question that remains: what will be next?

Morgan Stippel is a political science major and a professional writing minor. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a state prosecutor and specialize in domestic violence cases.