Open main menu

Abortion in the Northern Mariana Islands

Abortion in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States territory, is illegal per 11 TTC § 51, which states:

Every person who shall unlawfully cause the miscarriage or premature delivery of a woman, with the intent to do so, shall be guilty of abortion and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned for a period of not more than five years. (Code 1966, § 405; Code 1970, tit. 11, § 51.)[1]

In a 1971 case, Trust Territory v. Tarkong, the Appellate Court of the Trust Territory (see also United States territorial court) held:

As far as the woman herself is concerned, unless the abortion statute expressly makes her responsible, it is generally held, although the statute reads any "person", that she is not liable to any criminal prosecution, whether she solicits the act or performs it upon herself.[2]

Tension has existed between Interpretations of U.S. federal law up against local Commonwealth law. However, a recent governor has asserted that until either U.S. federal or local Commonwealth courts state otherwise, or unless the Commonwealth government carves out any legal allowances, abortion remains illegal in all circumstances in the Commonwealth.[3] In practice, abortions to save the life of the mother or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest occur without prosecution.[4]


  1. ^ "Crimes and Punishment" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  2. ^ "Digest of Cases Reported" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  3. ^ "Lang: Abortion is illegal in CNMI - Saipan News, Headlines, Events, Ads". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  4. ^ "Legal opinion backs abortion - Saipan News, Headlines, Events, Ads". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved 2015-07-29.