Abortion Decision by North Dakota Judge Cites Affidavit by Professor Orentlicher


North Dakota state court Judge Wickham Corwin quoted IU McKinney Professor David Orentlicher in his decision of July 15, 2013, declaring unconstitutional a state law banning one of the drugs used in non-surgical abortions.

“As state legislatures have passed statutes that would deny many pregnant women access to abortions that are safe, effective and constitutionally protected, court challenges have ensued. In this case, the trial judge rejected a state law that would have made it too difficult for women to use prescription medication rather than undergo a surgical procedure for their early abortions,” Professor Orentlicher said.

The case is MKB Management Corp., et al. v.  Birch Burdick, et al., No. 09-2011-CV-02205. The North Dakota attorney general has said he will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.


“The medical concept of informed consent is based on a patient’s right to autonomy and self-determination, the same fundamental interests that are at the center of a woman’s reproductive rights. The physician’s role is to provide the information necessary to allow the patient to make an informed decision, but the patient must always make the final decision. This includes the right to choose from the treatment options that are available and appropriate,” the judge wrote, citing Professor Orentlicher.

The case is one of several among states seeking to place restrictions on access to abortions. North Dakota has some of the most stringent state laws regarding abortion in the nation, should they be allowed to take effect. The Center for Reproductive Rights, among others, is challenging the laws in North Dakota and elsewhere.

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