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State Judge Announces Intention to Permanently Strike North Dakota’s Restrictions on Medication Abortion as Unconstitutional

(PRESS RELEASE) At the conclusion of a three-day trial, District Court Judge Wickham Corwin announced today that he plans to issue a ruling permanently blocking the state’s onerous restrictions on medication abortion as unconstitutional.

During today’s proceedings, Judge Corwin called any concerns about the safety of medication abortion "exaggerated or contrived" and stated that these unconstitutional restrictions "stand in the way of women’s health."

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

"In the face of relentless attacks on their reproductive health care by their own elected officials, today the women of North Dakota can celebrate an important win in this battle to protect their fundamental, constitutional rights.

"Medication abortion is widely recognized by medical experts and organizations around the world as a safe and effective option for women seeking to terminate an early pregnancy.

"These efforts to keep North Dakota women from the best available medical care and deny them their right to make their own decisions about their pregnancies, their families, and their futures are not only disingenuous, but wholly unconstitutional."

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a challenge in July 2011 to the unconstitutional law on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinic—North Dakota's only abortion clinic—arguing that the law denies women access to an alternative to surgical abortion that has been widely recognized as safe and effective by medical experts and organizations worldwide. The law has been temporarily blocked from enforcement since that time.

The Center filed the suit, MKB Management Corp d/b/a Red River Women’s Clinic, Kathryn Eggleston, M.D., v. Birch Burdick and Terry Dwelle, M.D., along with law firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Turman & Lang Ltd.