North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill on Tuesday, preventing the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
“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 in a statement, according to WDAZ-TV of Grand Forks
Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case which gave women the right to an abortion, legalized the procedure up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks. The North Dakota law would prevent abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually six weeks into a pregnancy.
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The bill is the toughest anti-abortion law in the nation, the Associated Press reported. An Arkansas law, passed earlier this month, imposed a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected by an abdominal ultrasound, usually at 12 weeks. The North Dakota ban doesn’t include that requirement.
Doctors face five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for violating the law. Women having an abortion would not be charged with a crime.
Dalrymple also on Tuesday signed measures banning abortions based on genetic defects and one requiring abortions to be conducted by physicians with hospital-admitting privileges.
Given the likelihood of lawsuits over the bills, the governor advised state lawmakers to appropriate funding necessary for litigation before adjourning.
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