North Dakota now has the strictest anti-abortion law in the nation

Furthermore, a "personhood" amendment that would ban pretty much all abortions in North Dakota is likely headed for a referendum next year.
Furthermore, a "personhood" amendment that would ban pretty much all abortions in North Dakota is likely headed for a referendum next year.
Image by Tatiana Craine

A bill signed into law today by Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple is the strictest anti-abortion measure on the books in any state.

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The law bans abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

According to the AP, Arkansas recently banned most abortions after 12 weeks, at which time a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected with an ultrasound, but a fetus's heartbeat can be detected earlier using an invasive vaginal ultrasound. The North Dakota law doesn't specify whether women seeking abortions will have to subject themselves to that procedure.

After he signed the bill, Dalrymple released a statement indicating he expects the new North Dakota law will ultimately be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's his statement:

Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed HB 1305, HB 1456 and SB 2305 and provided the following statements to the Legislature:

"North Dakota House and Senate presiding officers:

I have signed HB 1305 which would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities.

I have signed HB 1456 which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question. The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.

I have signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota. The added requirement that the hospital privileges must include allowing abortions to take place in their facility greatly increases the chances that this measure will face a court challenge. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and new question for the courts regarding a precise restriction on doctors who perform abortions."

North Dakota's new status as the nation's leading anti-abortion state was applauded by MNGOP Rep. Mary Franson:

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