No Joke: North Dakota Named Freest State in the Country

| Thu Mar. 28, 2013 7:18 AM PDT

On Tuesday, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) signed into law three of the nation's strictest anti-abortion laws, banning all procedures after six weeks, prohibiting abortions due to genetic abnormalities, and adding more hoops for doctors working at the state's one abortion clinic. On Wednesday, the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University unveiled its annual "Freedom in the 50 States" report, ranking each state's fiscal, regulatory, and personal "freedom."

Guess who's number one?

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The Center's rankings are quite thorough—you can see where each stands based on dozens of variables, including taxation, tort reform, fireworks laws, same-sex partnerships, happy hour regulations, the legality of raw milk, and whether or not the state bans salvia. But one thing is pointedly happy from the methodology, despite its seemingly obvious consequences for individual and economic liberty: reproductive rights.

Congratulations, North Dakota. This award will look nice up on the mantle next to the anti-choice March Madness championship trophy.

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