October 2, 2013
The North Dakota Catholic Conference, acting on behalf of Bishop David D. Kagan of Bismarck and Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the North Dakota Supreme Court in the case of MKB Management Corp. v. Burdick
, urging the court to reverse a district court that found a right to an abortion in the state constitution.
From its inception in 1970, the North Dakota Catholic Conference has advocated for the life, health, and safety of all human life, including unborn children and the women who contemplate or receive an abortion. The case concerns whether the state can regulate the use of abortion drugs and establish safety requirements for women obtaining abortions. A lower court judge found a right to abortion in the North Dakota Constitution and invalidated the statutes.
The brief extensively cites North Dakota and federal law to show that the North Dakota Constitution does not contain a right to abortion and the court is not required to interpret the state constitution to provide such a right. Creating such a right, the brief notes, “threatens a wide range of abortion regulations the State has enacted, including parental consent, informed consent, waiting periods and public funding restrictions, as well as virtually any other abortion regulation the State may enact. Nothing in the text, history or interpretation of the North Dakota Constitution requires such a radical result.”
The brief adds: “The North Dakota Constitution ‘must be interpreted in light of the rights and liberties it was created to uphold, and not the philosophical viewpoints of the judiciary who hold the responsibility of interpretation.’ Nothing in the state constitution was intended to create or recognize a right to abortion . . .”
The brief was written in cooperation with the Thomas More Society. Based in Chicago, the society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. The brief is available online at: http://ndcatholic.org/resources/ndccamicusbrief.PDF