North Dakota governor signs nation’s most restrictive abortion bill

by Lara Seligman, The Hill
March 27, 2013

North Dakota became the nation’s most restrictive state on abortion rights on Tuesday as Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a measure banning the procedure if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Dalrymple signed two other abortion bans Tuesday that were approved by the state’s GOP-led legislature.

The first would ban abortions based on genetic defects like Down syndrome – the first such measure in the country – and on gender selection. The second would require that any doctor performing abortions in the state be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

Dalrymple said in a statement that the bill is a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion until a fetus was considered “viable” – usually between 22 and 24 weeks.

“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,” Dalrymple said. “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 … the constitutionality of this measure is an open question.”

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