As the Supreme Court considers arguments over a Mississippi abortion law this week, North Dakotans on both sides of the issue are speaking out.
The head nurse at North Dakota’s only abortion clinic grew up protesting the procedure but today helps women with the process.
“I had an abortion in 2006, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t,” Sarah Haeder said. “I went back to school and got my medical degrees and have been able to do what I needed to with my life.”
Haeder says a ruling in favor of Mississippi would be devastating for the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo.
“We have some of the most strict antiabortion laws on the books in the United States, so it’s really hard to believe that things could be worse. Our patients already drive four to six hours one way,” Haeder said.
The ban is something North Dakota Right to Life Executive Director McKenzie McCoy would like to see.
She and other North Dakota groups went to D.C. to demonstrate, an experience she describes as surreal.
“I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be going to Washington, D.C. to stand outside of the Supreme Court to actually make history in hopefully overturning Roe v. Wade,” McCoy said.
Antiabortion lawmaker and state Sen. Janne Myrdal is hopeful the justices will favor Mississippi, considering the court’s decision in September to not order an injunction against a Texas heartbeat law.
“That’s the first time in my lifetime that they’ve actually ruled in favor for life,” Myrdal said.
Myrdal says if the court upholds the Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks, the decision will effectively go back to the states.
That includes North Dakota, which has a law in place to ban abortion should the court overrule the landmark 1973 ruling.
“That is sitting on the books and if Roe is overturned, meaning the decision is back in the states that comes into effect upon the attorney general, it’s something like 30 days,” Myrdal said.
“I don’t want to claim that I can predict the future, but after listening to the justices speak to each other yesterday, I don’t have very much hope,” Haeder said.
The court heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Wednesday, but a ruling on the case likely won’t come until the spring.
North Dakota is one of 12 states with abortion trigger laws that would immediately ban all or nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade were overturned.