North Dakota's Republican governor, Doug Burgum, on Monday signed legislation to ban abortion with few exceptions in the state. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum/Twitter
April 25 (UPI) -- North Dakota's Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation that bans abortion through criminalization and includes very narrow exceptions for pregnancies as the result of rape or incest, making the state home to one of the nation's strictest anti-abortion laws.
Burgum signed Senate Bill 2150 on Monday after it passed the Republican-controlled Senate 42-5 on April 19 and the House 76-14 two days prior.
The bill bans medical and pharmaceutical abortions under threat of the performing practitioner being charged with a Class C felony, which comes with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Exceptions are included to prevent the death of the pregnant woman and if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, but only if the gestational age of the fetus is less than 6 weeks, which is often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
The legislation, which goes into immediate effect, is a drastic reduction from current law permitting abortions up to a gestational age of 21 weeks, six days.
It also adds North Dakota to the growing list of more than a dozen Republican-led states that have banned abortion following last summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision that repealed federal protections for the procedure.
Burgum told UPI in an emailed statement that the bill "reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state."
North Dakota was one of 13 states to put a near-total abortion ban on the books in anticipation that the Supreme Court would one day repeal federal protections for the medical practice -- which occurred last summer when the conservative-leaning high court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling.
That trigger ban, which passed North Dakota's legislature in 2007, was to go into effect last summer but was met with litigation by the state's then-only abortion provider, Red River Women's Clinic, which won an injunction that was upheld last month by the state's Supreme Court.
The law remains on ice as it makes its way through litigation.
Burgum told UPI that the law he signed Monday "clarifies and refines" that trigger ban.
"Boo!" Red River Women's Clinic, which has since moved to Moorhead, Minn., tweeted Monday in reaction to the signing. "We are watching and are disappointed that Gov. Burgum signed this egregious infringement on bodily autonomy."
The signing comes on the heels of Burgum putting his signature to other controversial laws in recent weeks, including a ban preventing most minors from receiving medical and surgical forms of gender-affirming care via criminalization of performing doctors and a ban on transgender student athletes from playing on girls' and women's sports teams.