Judge blocks new North Dakota abortion law, finds it violates physicians’ constitutional protections against ‘compelled speech’

BISMARCK — A federal judge blocked the state of North Dakota from enforcing a new law requiring physicians to inform patients that it may be possible to reverse a drug-induced abortion Tuesday, Sept. 10, ruling that it violates doctors’ First Amendment protections against “compelled speech.”

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland sided with the American Medical Association and the state’s sole abortion clinic, which brought the lawsuit and requested a preliminary injunction against a law they argued would force physicians to lie to patients.

Supporters of House Bill 1336, which the Republican-controlled Legislature easily passed before Gov. Doug Burgum signed it in March, argue it would give women the full information needed to make a decision about ending a pregnancy. Opponents say it’s unsupported by science.