North Dakota is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending unconstitutional anti-choice laws, according to records obtained by the Associated Press.
The state has reportedly spent $159,000 so far defending its 2011 medication abortion law, which was blocked by East Central District Judge Wickham Corwin in July. (The North Dakota attorney general’s office recently asked the state supreme court to reverse that ruling.) That is more than $100,000 greater than what was reported in June. The funds have been used for legal fees, travel, and expert witnesses.
The law, HB 1297, banned the off-label use of two medication abortion drugs and restricted the procedures to only the protocol approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Opponents argue that the law unconstitutionally restricts medication abortions.
In addition, state lawmakers have allocated $400,000 in taxpayer funds to defend anti-choice laws passed this year, including legislation that would ban abortion as early as six weeks’ gestation; that law has been blocked by a federal judge while its constitutionality is challenged. Another law requiring doctors that perform abortions to acquire admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they provide abortions has also been blocked while a challenge to its constitutionality proceeds.
North Dakota is one of a handful of states racking up huge legal bills defending unconstitutional anti-choice laws. Idaho has spent $365,000 defending abortion restrictions since 2000, and could potentially spend another $400,000 defending another case.