Tags: north | dakota | abortion | limits

North Dakota Abortion Limits Unconstitutional, Clinic Says

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 01:26 PM

New North Dakota laws that would bar abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected and ban using the procedure for sex selection or because of genetic flaws are violations of women’s rights, a clinic said in a lawsuit.

The provisions, signed into law in March by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, take effect Aug. 1, unless they are halted by a court.

The Center for Reproductive Rights sued today in federal court in Bismarck on behalf of the only abortion clinic in North Dakota. The clinic is seeking a ruling that the bans are unconstitutional and an injunction barring their enforcement.

“The bans prohibit abortions prior to viability in violation of clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent that protect the substantive due process rights of women seeking abortions,” according to the complaint.

The ban on abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected would restrict the procedure to as early as six weeks into pregnancy, according to the filing.

The plaintiff Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo said it provides abortion care to women up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. About 89 percent of the clinic’s patients have abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit names as defendants members of the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners and the state attorney general.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s press secretary, Liz Brocker, declined to comment on the lawsuit.


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