- Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview that abortion should be decided at the state level, ahead of his likely presidential announcement on Wednesday.
- Though Burgum said he believes abortion is a states issue, he prefers not to comment on hypothetical legislation like a federal abortion ban before it makes it to his desk, as many factors could change.
- “I do believe in the Dobbs decision, and the Dobbs decision leaves this up to the states,” Burgum told the DCNF. “I’ve said that before, and I’ll keep saying that again.”
North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, who’s expected to announce a presidential run this week, believes the issue of abortion should be left up to the states, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Burgum signed strict legislation in late April, banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy with limited exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies. As questions of a federal abortion ban continue to arise among Republicans, Burgum said he supports the Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which returned the power to restrict abortions back to the states, he told the DCNF in an interview.
“I do believe in the Dobbs decision, and the Dobbs decision leaves this up to the states,” said Burgum. “I’ve said that before, and I’ll keep saying that again.” (RELATED: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum Signs Sweeping Abortion Ban)
When asked if he would sign a federal abortion ban if he became president, Burgum said he prefers not to comment on hypothetical legislation, as “100 things” could change before the bill hits his desk, he told the DCNF. The governor also argued that restricting abortion nationally is even more hypothetical considering the unlikelihood for there to be enough Republican votes in the Senate to pass it.
The abortion ban Burgum signed in North Dakota would only allow abortions for rape and incest up until the sixth week gestation, however, the medical emergencies exception would persist throughout the pregnancy, according to the bill’s text. The legislation also carves out an exception for individuals who are assisting physicians without knowledge that the physician was performing an abortion in violation of this law.
🚨 #BREAKING: North Dakota governor Doug Burgum signs into law a bill banning abortion after six weeks, without exceptions for rape or incest.
— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) April 24, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed similar legislation in mid-April, banning abortion after six weeks gestation via the Heartbeat Protection Act. DeSantis, who said there is a “role” for the federal government in restricting abortions following his presidential announcement, brought down the state’s abortion restriction from 15 weeks of pregnancy, with the bill allowing for exceptions in the case of rape, incest, human trafficking or when the life of the mother is in danger.
Former President Donald Trump criticized DeSantis’ abortion ban for being “too harsh,” and also said he supports the Dobbs decision of leaving abortion up to the states and not as a federal issue, which he came under fire for by pro-life organizations. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said her abortion policy is to find “national consensus” on the topic, and acknowledged that strict abortion bans like those in red states would never pass at the federal level.
Along with North Dakota, there are 11 other states that currently ban abortion as early as six weeks, including Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa, Idaho and Ohio, according to Pro-Choice America.
Burgum notably vetoed several pieces of legislation involving social issues, like a school choice bill in late April that would have provided $10 million in private school vouchers. The governor also vetoed a bill that could prevent teachers from referring to students by pronouns not corresponding to their sex, as well as legislation in 2021 that would bar biological men from competing in women’s sports, both of which he later signed into law.
In 2020, he condemned the North Dakota Republican Party for a policy statement that included resolutions critical of the LGBT community, which Burgum said were “hurtful and divisive.” The state GOP later apologized for their remarks, where they disapproved of legislation that would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Burgum believes some of these “culture war” issues should be decided on a state by state basis, and at the local level when possible, so as not to exert government overreach, he told the DCNF. The governor argued that while the country is “diverse,” Americans have shared interests about the economy, energy policy and national security, but most social issues shouldn’t be regulated by the federal government.
“I think there’s lots of examples of what has to be done, needs to be done, needs to be talked about that touch every American, and so that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to keep focusing on it,” said Burgum. “I believe in the limited role of the federal government, I believe that best decisions are made close to the people, and in some of these decisions that people are passionate about, let those discussions happen at school boards and library boards.”
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