pre-Roe statutes prohibited performance of an abortion
on a pregnant woman unless the procedure was “necessary to
preserve her life,” and
made a woman’s participation in her own abortion a criminal
offense (subject to the same exception). Pursuant
to Roe, these statutes were declared unconstitutional
by a federal district court in Leigh v. Olson, and
were later repealed. The
statutes would not be revived by a decision overruling Roe
v. Wade. Abortions could be performed for any reason before
viability, and for virtually any reason after viability.
N.D. Cent. Code §§ 12-25-01, 12-25-02
Id. § 12-25-04.
No prosecutions were reported under this statute.
255 (D. N.D. 1974).
Laws 215, 300, ch 116, § 41.
Dakota’s post-viability statute, see N.D.
Cent. Code § 14.02.1-04(3) (1997), would not effectively
prohibit post-viability abortions because it allows abortions
for mental, as well as physical, health reasons. As the
experience in California demonstrated, mental health exceptions
were widely abused. See People v. Barksdale, 503
P.2d 257, 265 (Cal. 1972) (noting that more than 60,000
abortions were reported in 1970, more than 98% of which
were performed for alleged reasons of mental health).