ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Port: What will North Dakota's Legislature do on abortion?

State Sen. Janne Myrdal, a Republican who has worked as an activist in the pro-life movement for more than 30 years, joined this episode of Plain Talk to talk about what the debate over abortion in the upcoming legislative session might look like.

Photo: Janne Myrdal transgender athletes debate
Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, speaks on the Senate floor on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINOT, N.D. — In 2007, a bipartisan majority of North Dakota lawmakers passed a near-total ban on abortions that was introduced by two Democratic legislators. It was written so that it would only take effect should the courts overturn Roe v. Wade and other legal precedents that created a right to an abortion.

Those precedents have been overturned, and while there's still legal wrangling around the law in North Dakota courts — our state Supreme court held oral arguments about an injunction currently blocking it this week — it's clear that the Legislature, in its upcoming session, will have some clean-up to do on the abortion issue.

State Sen. Janne Myrdal, a Republican who has worked as an activist in the pro-life movement for more than 30 years, joined this episode of Plain Talk to talk about what that debate might look like.

Myrdal told co-host Chad Oban and I that while she intends to "stand behind" North Dakota's existing laws, she does see the need for some tweaks, such as the "affirmative defense" exceptions in the law which would allow medical professionals to defend themselves against felony charges should they perform an abortion in the instance of something like rape or incest. Myrdal said she's not interested in hauling doctors into court.

She also said she's not interested in, nor has she heard of any bills coming forward, that would put restrictions on things like storing embryos, but she did say she believes Republicans can't just focus on banning abortion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Myrdal said she plans to support laws to make the adoption process easier, and to provide better care for mothers and children around a pregnancy.

The new legislative session begins in January.

If you'd like to be notified when new episodes of Plain Talk publish, click here to subscribe — it's free! — or search for Plain Talk on your favorite podcast platform.

MORE FROM ROB PORT
"You could hear an audible groan in the chamber," one lawmaker told me shortly afterward. "Absolutely embarrassing."
Bochenski says the president of UND told him that Chinese students and faculty feel "uncomfortable." Also, a state veterinarian weighs in on controversy around deer baiting.
"Some of Fargo's leaders would have us believe they're fighting gun violence. But they're not. They're wasting our time fighting over something that wasn't a problem in the first place."
"North Dakota's lawmakers could help reduce property insurance premiums, and take away some upward pressure on property taxes, by giving the state's fire departments back their full funding."
What took so long?
"A lavish compensation package given to former NDSU President Dean Bresciani is a drain on the school's resources at a time when it can ill be afforded."

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.
What To Read Next
"Life is short, ends in a moment, and we don’t think much about it some days. ... It’s a scenic highway, and we should keep it that way, go a bit slower, and enjoy life."
It's hard to rock across North Dakota while the state Legislature is in session, according to columnist Tony Bender.
"Mental health affects students’ learning, thinking, feeling, acting and interacting," Steve Grineski writes.
A couple of bills introduced quietly would help feed students in public schools