Catholics bishops hail North Dakota's abortion ban - Catholic Courier
A sign for a Catholic Charities of North Dakota (CCND) "Bundle Up Your Baby Bump" community giveaway. A sign for a Catholic Charities of North Dakota (CCND) "Bundle Up Your Baby Bump" community giveaway is seen in front of Trinity Elementary School in West Fargo, N.D., in this undated photo. Through such initiatives, the agency provides material, social and spiritual support to women facing unplanned pregnancies, said CCND interim executive director Kris Haycraft. (OSV News by Catholic Charities of North Dakota)

Catholics bishops hail North Dakota’s abortion ban

(OSV News) — North Dakota has enacted a near-total ban on abortions, with limited exceptions in cases of rape and incest up until the sixth week of pregnancy.

On April 24, Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law SB 2150, which amended North Dakota’s state code to prohibit abortion.

Burgum said in a statement provided to OSV News that the bill, which takes immediate effect, “clarifies and refines existing state law … and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state.”

North Dakota Catholic Conference applauds abortion ban bill

The North Dakota Catholic Conference applauded Burgum for signing the bill into law in an April 24 statement.

“We rejoice that North Dakota has taken this important step toward making the state a sanctuary for life,” said the statement by the conference, which is led by Bishop David D. Kagan of Bismarck and Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo.

The conference noted the bill’s enactment was “the result of months of work involving legislators, public officials, pro-life organizations, and the state’s health care organizations.”

SB 2150, which had majority support in both the state House and Senate, excludes from its abortion ban those cases in which abortions are deemed medically necessary to prevent the death or serious health risk to a pregnant woman, as well as abortions performed on victims of rape or incest up until the sixth week of pregnancy.

Also exempted are cases involving the removal of a dead unborn child from the womb; ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg is implanted outside of the womb; and molar pregnancy, in which unusual tissue growth occurs and supplants the healthy development of the placenta. The estimated rate of ectopic pregnancies is between 1% and 2%, with ruptured ectopic pregnancies accounting for 2.7% of all pregnancy-related deaths. Molar pregnancies also are rare, occurring in approximately 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies.

Individuals who assist in performing an abortion are excluded from the North Dakota ban (which makes abortion a class C felony in the state) if such persons acted “within the scope of (their) regulated profession” and “did not know the physician was performing an abortion.”

Bishops: ‘Banning abortion is not enough’

At the same time, North Dakota’s bishops noted “banning abortion is not enough.”

“Everyone, including the state government, must respond with love so that women and families receive the support and care needed so that abortion becomes unthinkable,” the North Dakota Catholic Conference stated.

Kris Haycraft, director of pregnancy, parenting and adoption services for Catholic Charities of North Dakota and the agency’s interim executive director, told OSV News she and her team focus on doing just that.

“We really pride ourselves on meeting women exactly where they are at physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she said. “We find out what their world looks like, and what they want it to look like.”

Haycraft said she and her team begin by meeting “the basic needs of food and shelter” for women experiencing unplanned or challenging pregnancies, then “work to wrap love around them.”

Baby supplies and parenting education are among the resources provided, she said, adding that access to holistic support can be transformational.

“My favorite part of this job is watching somebody come in hopeless, thinking they have made a mistake and not sure where to go, and then exiting our program maybe a year later — after they’ve chosen parenting or adoption — with confidence,” she said.

The impact marks “a two-generation change,” said Haycraft. “It’s amazing what a little bit of love and empowerment can do in a woman’s life, for her and for her baby.”


Gina Christian is a national reporter for OSV News. Follow her on Twitter at @GinaJesseReina.

Tags: Abortion
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