Legislation / Court Cases

North Dakota Enhances Penalties for Forced Abortions

AUL-Based Bill Becomes North Dakota Law, Providing Enhanced Penalties for Those Exploiting Women and Girls Trapped in Human Trafficking
“Sex trafficking is modern day slavery,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “We must protect the women and girls victimized by those profiting from their misery.”

“Human trafficking is a modern day horror that demands a coordinated and compassionate response. With the passage of enhanced penalties for those criminals who force the women and girls in their control to have abortions, North Dakota lawmakers are effectively addressing another tool criminals use to victimize the powerless,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. North Dakota SB 2275 is the 6th bill to become law during this legislative session, based partially on AUL model legislation found in Defending Life.

“Sex trafficking is modern day slavery. We must protect the women and girls victimized by those profiting from their misery. This law, which provided additional penalties for human traffickers, represents a true, bipartisan effort,” noted Dr. Yoest, “And AUL offers special thanks to the leadership of Rep. Dan Ruby, Sen. Lonnie Laffen, Sen. Randall Burckhard, Senator Joe Miller, Senator Oley Larsen, and Senator Larry Luick.” Before Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the law, it was passed unanimously by the North Dakota House and passed the Senate by 46 to 1.

During the debate over the bill, the prevalence of forced abortion among women and girls trapped in human trafficking was documented in a letter sent to lawmakers. This new law will provide enhanced penalties for individuals who are engaged in human trafficking and force or coerce their victims to have an abortion. If a trafficker were found guilty of coercing a victim to have an abortion, this law would add an additional prison sentence (up to 5 years) for that crime in addition to the other sex trafficking offenses they face.

“Abortion harms women,” noted Dr. Yoest. “The time is now for our society to address the cruelty and evils of human trafficking, and to confront those who victimize women with forced abortions because they want to profit from their servitude.”
[AUL email, WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-21-15), [email protected]]