SCOTUS Dashes North Dakota’s Dreams Of Basically Outlawing Abortion

Back in 2013, the state of North Dakota passed a so-called “Fetal Heartbeat Bill.” Said bill would have criminalized abortion after six weeks, or when a heartbeat is detected, well before many people even know they’re pregnant. The law, being entirely ridiculous and cruel, never went into effect due to being quickly struck down by a federal district court, and blocked permanently by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (all Bush-appointed judges, by the by).

But that doesn’t mean they gave up hope! –Hope that they could force the 1,250 or so people in North Dakota who choose abortion each year to either have babies they don’t want and possibly cannot afford to take care of! Maybe there would even be some teenagers forced into shotgun marriages with men they don’t love–which would of course contribute to a very stable family environment! Perhaps some people would even die from self-induced abortions, giving the holiest in the state the opportunity to see God’s judgment in action! Maybe some would lose their jobs, thereby opening up opportunities for cis men who won’t need any of that pesky “maternity time off!” Maybe it would lead to literally no one having sex ever, except for procreative purposes! Maybe, just maybe, this could force women back into their rightful place, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.

And so, this year, as they continued to hold onto that hope, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem marched right on up to the Supreme Court, hoping the justices would choose to hear their case! “It was a long shot,” he noted–given that SCOTUS gets requests to hear at least 7,500 cases a year, and usually hears only about 100.

However, today, the Republicans of North Dakota was denied their dream. The justices declined to hear their case. Much like they did last week when Arkansas tried to get them to hear their case for their 12-week abortion ban. SCOTUS decided to uphold the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to respect the court’s precedent on abortion, which allows for legal abortion up until the fetus is viable, usually at 23-24 weeks.

Personally, I’m cheering.

Alas, it’s a tempered cheer. On March 2nd, SCOTUS will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the case regarding Texas’ horrific HB2 bill that would cause a majority of the state’s remaining abortion clinics to close. That case will decide if states can just impose ridiculous restrictions on abortion clinics specifically for the purpose of shutting them down–and if SCOTUS finds in favor of Texas, none of this will even matter, and there will soon be many states where the right to choose will only be available to those financially able to travel long distances.