North Dakota has spent millions of dollars to defend unconstitutional laws rammed through our Legislature by self-righteous zealots bent on making abortion illegal and unsafe while also ensuring that comprehensive sex education (which deters unwanted pregnancies!) is unavailable in schools.

Now these same one-issue zealots want to introduce in North Dakota the law Texas passed making abortion functionally illegal with no exceptions for rape or incest. A law that cuts off abortion as an option before many women even know they’re pregnant.

As if denying women the right to make personal health decisions isn’t enough, the enforcement proposed is an outrageous violation of personal freedom: Citizen vigilantes are incentivized to bring civil action against anyone who performs an abortion or aids (knowingly or unknowingly) someone getting an abortion.

Just envision the consequences. Neighbor turning on neighbor. Colleagues, friends and families turning against each other. Medical personnel disagreeing over the life of the mother versus an unviable fetus. This frightening vigilantism would instill fear of neighbors, family and colleagues, and is similar to what my parents experienced when laws imposing a code of conduct for Jews was adopted in Germany in the 1930s.

Ninety years ago Germany’s lawless vigilantism grew and was codified by legislators who thrived on bigotry, hate, and religious fanaticism. We must stand up against this oppressive, vigilante bill for all the ways it defies the bodily freedom of women, and because it will certainly lead to these zealots bringing additional oppressive laws to our state, hijacking freedoms promised by the Constitution they claim to hold so dear.

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Dina Butcher, Bismarck