Groups try to sway Dalrymple on abortion bills

By: Wendy Reuer, Forum News Service

FARGO – Neither bill passed by the state Senate last week that would limit abortion procedures have made it to the governor, who must sign them into law or veto them.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has remained mum about his intentions.

National groups have been trying to persuade Dalrymple to veto the bills since they passed through the Legislature on Friday.

HB 1456 bans abortions if a heartbeat is detected and HB 1305 bans abortions based on sex or genetic defect.

A national letter-writing campaign was launched Friday by Women Organized to Resist and Defend, also known as by WORD.

Hundreds of women sent letters urging Dalrymple to veto the bills by Friday evening, said Danielle Norwood, spokeswomen for WORD, which is based in Los Angeles.

WORD was founded in 2012 after what Norwood called a banner year of assaults on women’s rights in 2011.

“We wanted to let women in North Dakota know that women across the country are paying attention,” she said. “We’re here in solidarity and we’ll do whatever we can to help.”

WORD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan feminist group that focuses on action against legislative moves pertaining to women’s rights and issues. The group organizes protests and gatherings, and letter writing campaigns such as the one to Dalrymple.

While there is no local chapter of WORD in North Dakota, Norwood said the group will support any efforts by individuals or groups to urge Dalrymple to veto the bills.

Norwood said she suspects Republican Dalrymple will sign the bills.

“If he does sign that bill, we want him to know he does so in understanding that this is an assault on women’s rights,” Norwood said.

Jeff Zent, communications director for Dalrymple’s office, said Monday that when Dalrymple receives the bills, “he will carefully look them over.”

Zent said the governor’s office has heard many responses from both sides of the issue.

There is no time limit imposed on the Legislature to send a bill it has passed to the governor’s office.

Once the governor receives a bill, he has five legislative days to sign it and forward it to the secretary of state’s office.

Reporter TJ Jerke contributed to this report.

Originally published by Grand Forks Herald.