North Dakota Governor Approves 6-Week Abortion Ban

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation that would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The Republican governor also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.

Abortion-rights advocates say the measures signed Tuesday are an attempt to close the state's sole abortion clinic in Fargo. Supporters of the so-called fetal heartbeat measure say it's a challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

Abortion-rights advocates say the state will have to defend the legislation in a costly legal fight.

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North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple acknowledges a court battle is likely after he signed legislation banning most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected -- something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The Republican governor says in a statement that "the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question." He calls the measure "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries" of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Dalrymple on Tuesday also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome. He also endorsed a measure that requires a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.


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