To: House Human Services Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: HB 1546 - Dismemberment Abortion
Date: January 21, 2019

The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports House Bill 1546 to ban dismemberment abortions.

Every child, at every moment of existence, deserves love and the protection of the law. No one has the right to take innocent human being’s life. This is why the official policy of North Dakota is that, between childbirth and abortion, childbirth is to be given preference, encouragement, and support by law and by state action and also why the state recognizes that every abortion will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” (N.D.C.C. secs. 14-02.3-01; 14-02.1-02.) House Bill 1546 furthers that policy by prohibiting a certain particularly gruesome abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation.

One of the most erroneous statements about abortion law is the claim that Roe v. Wade is settled law. The holding in Roe became unsettled almost as soon as it was decided and abortion jurisprudence is constantly in flux. Many issues remain question and the constitutionality of banning dismemberment abortions has not been determined by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is also not clear if anyone would have standing to challenge HB 1546 in North Dakota since the procedure is not currently being done in the state. That could leave the law intact until and if the U.S. Supreme Court or the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals renders a conclusive opinion.

We ask for a Do Pass recommendation on House Bill 1546.