North Dakota approves the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation banning terminations after six weeks, for genetic defects or even in cases of rape

  • Pair of anti-abortion measures include one that prevents women from having an abortion based on a genetic defect, like Down's syndrome

  • Doctors prevented from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected - as early as five or six weeks

  • Measures now to go to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple who has indicated he will sign them into law

  • If adopted, bills would be the most restrictive abortion laws in the country

By Reuters Reporter

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The North Dakota Senate has approved what would be the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, a measure banning the procedure in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks.

Senators also approved a second bill on Friday that bans abortions based solely on genetic abnormalities, the first state ban of its kind if signed into law.

The bill would also ban abortions based on the gender of the fetus, which would make North Dakota the fourth state to ban sex-selection based abortions.

Republican Senator Bette Grande at the state Capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota which approved two anti-abortion bills including banning abortions after six weeks or in the case of genetic defects

Republican Senator Bette Grande at the state Capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota which approved two anti-abortion bills including banning abortions after six weeks or in the case of genetic defects

The bills, which passed the state House of Representatives last month, now head to Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple, who has not indicated whether he would sign them into law. He is expected to receive the bills on Monday.

The "heartbeat" bill provides exceptions if an abortion would prevent the death or irreversible impairment of a pregnant woman but no exceptions for rape.

 

A women's right to choose? The laws would ban abortions based on gender selection or genetic defects. Termination would also be banned after six weeks of pregnancy

A women's right to choose? The laws would ban abortions based on gender selection or genetic defects. Termination would also be banned after six weeks of pregnancy

It sets up a direct challenge to the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.

Several states ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Arkansas lawmakers earlier in March approved a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy that could take effect in August if it survives expected legal challenges.

Republican state Senator Spencer Berry, a bill sponsor, said 40 years of medical advancements should not be ignored.

'The images and heartbeat from the womb provide strong and overwhelming evidence of - at the very least - potential life,' Berry said. 'And we have been instructed by the Supreme Court to protect that very potential.'

At six weeks, the ban would take effect before many women would know they were pregnant, said the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents North Dakota's only clinic that provides abortions, the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo.

'The passage of this law is nothing short of a frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution, 40 years of Supreme Court precedent, and the health and fundamental rights of women,' said Nancy Northup, the center's president and CEO.

The center and Planned Parenthood urged Dalrymple to veto both bills. More than half of the patients at a Planned Parenthood clinic across the border from Fargo in Moorhead, Minnesota, are North Dakota residents.

Speaking up: North Dakota state Senator Carolyn Nelson, D-Fargo, speaks out against the proposed new abortion laws. If the governor signs the measures, North Dakota would have the most restrictive laws in the country

Speaking up: North Dakota state Senator Carolyn Nelson, D-Fargo, speaks out against the proposed new abortion laws. If the governor signs the measures, North Dakota would have the most restrictive laws in the country

In favour of a ban: North Dakota state Sen. Margaret Sitte, R-Bismarck voted to approve the tight anti-abortion laws. Abortion-rights activists have promised a legal battle over the measures if they become law

In favour of a ban: North Dakota state Sen. Margaret Sitte, R-Bismarck voted to approve the tight anti-abortion laws. Abortion-rights activists have promised a legal battle over the measures if they become law

When life begins: These laws would ban abortion as soon as heartbeat is detected meaning abortions after six weeks would be off-limits. Supporters of the bills say their goal is to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling

When life begins: These laws would ban abortion as soon as heartbeat is detected meaning abortions after six weeks would be off-limits. Supporters of the bills say their goal is to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling

'With this vote, politicians in North Dakota have proven their disregard for a woman's personal medical decision-making,' Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said in a statement.

North Dakota lawmakers have several other bills still under consideration that would put restrictions on abortion including a proposed amendment to the state constitution that declares that life begins at conception.

That would be put before voters in November 2014 if the state House approves the provision.

Statehouses across the nation approved a record 92 restrictions on abortion in 2011 and another 43 in 2012, which was the second-highest figure on record, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Men need to stop making health decisions for women.

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If all these people are supposedly so against killing human life, why are they for the death penalty and war, both of which often kill innocent life as well? Can they not see the hypocrisy? dove , San Francisco, United States, 17/3/2013 15:02------------>Dove, your reasoning is a bit muddled. It commits the fallacy of assuming that _all_ pro-lifers are in support of the death penalty or enthusiasts for war, a situation that is clearly not the case. Now It is true that _some_ pro-lifers do indeed support the death penalty and war; it is no less true that some oppose the death penalty and war as well. Also, keep in mind that an unborn human is _ipso facto_ innocent, whereas the death penalty is carried out on someone who has been judged of committing a grave crime and so is presumed not innocent.. It is true that innocent people are sometimes wrongly judged and it is a true tragedy that they are executed: however, the principle at play differs fundamentally from that at play in abortion.

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A woman is already considered 4 weeks pregnant by the time she has missed her period!! How can you make a decision in 2 weeks???

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This new "right-to-lifer's" law will be taken to court and found UNconstitutional. - Jean, USA, 16/3/2013 21:06............I'm pretty libertarian in my views, i.e. if the will of the people is something I can't live with then I vote with my feet. The problem with you progs is you never EVER accept the word NO!

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If all these people are supposedly so against killing human life, why are they for the death penalty and war, both of which often kill innocent life as well? Can they not see the hypocrisy?

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39 men and 8 women make up the state senate. No wonder women lose again.

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How about we leave the government out of this all together? How about letting a woman make her own informed decision about what she would like to do. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one.

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Me, here, United States - if what you're saying about your own situation is true, then that situation applies to about 10% of the women who have abortions. Some are doing it out of genuine concern for the child's quality of life due to severe disability. The vast majority are having them because A: They were sexually irresponsible knowing that the safety net of abortion was there or B: because the child has a relatively mild defect (such as cleft palate, club foot) and they selfishly want a 'perfect' child. Why should I support their choices? Cheryl, Apple Valley, also makes the good point that married people have other options if they decide they have enough children.

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i do agree with reducing the limits as medicine improves (youngest born that survived was 21 wks) but i dont think 6wks is fair - espically not enough time for a woman to consider it - assuming she finds out at 4wks (most do) she may feel forced into making a decision based on silly laws, not to forget that a fetus at 6wks has NO chance of living outside of its mother - at this stage the mother should ALWAYS be put first.

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I was a CO at a Max mens pen in Texas---I would love to see ONE of these pro-lifers spend a few days in the real world--FAST FORWARD--No longer the cute baby/fetus--Instead- the dude that killed your mama because nobody loved him and nobody wanted him---but according to your pro life rhetoric-- we should still give this child the GREAT GIFT OF LIFE--with a drug addicted mother--no father-and 40-to life..Funny-- Ive seen you guys outide of abortion clinics but Ive never seen you outside the pen....

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