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Plain Talk: Wrigley will certify ND's bipartisan (you read that right) abortion ban 'in a matter of hours'

"I expect to be announcing that decision in a matter ... of hours not days," he said, adding that he doesn't expect to make the announcement today, but it's coming soon.

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North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley has a conversation at the GOP state headquarters in Bismarck on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
Kyle Martin / The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — You couldn't possibly have missed the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Roe v. Wade precedent which held that it was unconstitutional for state governments to ban abortion.

The ruling was unambiguous.

"The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion," the court ruled . "Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives."

North Dakota, like many other states, has legislation regulating abortion which was written so that it would take effect should the Roe precedent be overturned. On this episode of Plain Talk, the state official responsible for making that determination, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, says we can expect his decision imminently.

"I expect to be announcing that decision in a matter ... of hours not days," he said, adding that he doesn't expect to make the announcement today, but it's coming soon.

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That's not surprising given how clear the Supreme Court was in their opinion.

Wrigley noted that while researching the issue, he was surprised to see that the 2007 "trigger bill" banning abortion was bipartisan. It was "even sponsored by a Democrat," he noticed.

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The bill in question was House Bill 1466 , and its primary sponsor was former Rep. James Kerzman, a Democrat. The other House co-sponsor was Rep. Ralph Metcalf, who was also a Democrat.

Rep. Merle Boucher (a gubernatorial candidate in 2004), Rep. Bill Amerman, Sen. Joan Heckaman (the current Minority Leader), Sen. Richard Marcellais, and Sen. Tim Mathern were other notable Democrats who voted to pass the bill.

On a related note, it's worth remembering that the Democratic-NPL's current U.S. House candidate, Mark Haugen, has said that he supports the court overturning Roe as well as North Dakota's trigger bill banning abortion .

In addition to the 2007 law, there is also a 2019 trigger bill that banned the most common type of surgical abortion, though Wrigley said that bill was largely moot given the 2007 law.

Once these certifications are completed, Wrigley's office will focus on other bills regulating abortion that haven't been enforced because they've been enjoined by the courts based on the Roe decision. Among these are a ban on abortions after a heartbeat is detected, regulation of the disposal of aborted babies, and a bill regulating hospital admissions for abortions.

Wrigley also addressed the status of his inquiry into a land purchase made by a trust associated with billionaire Bill Gates. His office has sought information on the transaction, and the trust. If it's found to be in violation of a state prohibition on corporate farming, Wrigley says the trust will be required to divest itself of the property.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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