Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

North Dakota bans most abortions; opponents vow fight

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

North Dakota's governor has signed into law one of the nation's toughest anti-abortion laws. The new law bans most abortions after six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. A legal showdown is expected. Supporters say that the law is intended to test the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "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," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.

Dalrymple then directed the legislature to set aside funds to cover the cost of the expected legal battle.

Pro-abortion advocates vow a fierce battle. "North Dakota's governor today effectively banned abortion in the state, with an outrageous and unconstitutional law that will not stand," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund says.

Dalrymple called the constitutionality of the law "an open question," saying the Supreme Court has never considered the "precise restriction" of the fetal heartbeat aspect.

"We will not allow this frontal assault on fundamental reproductive rights to go unchallenged," Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said. In addition, the Center for Reproductive Rights announced plans to file a lawsuit to challenge the new law.
Proponents say that the new law targets doctors, rather than women having an abortion. Doctors who perform abortions face a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Convicted doctors could also lose their license to practice medicine.

The new law dictates that a woman who undergoes an abortion in which a fetal heartbeat has been detected may not be prosecuted for violating the law or conspiracy to violate the law. The law also does not rule out abortions when a medical emergency threatens the life of a woman.

According to Democratic state Senator Jim Dotzenrod, who voted against the bill, the measure does not allow for an abortion in the case of rape or incest.

Abortion was legalized in all 50 states in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Statutory time limits on when abortions can take place, however, vary from state to state.

Under Roe v. Wade, abortions are generally permitted until the fetus is considered viable, or able to live outside the womb. Some states have no time limit, while others allow abortion up to the end of the second trimester, about 27 or 28 weeks into the pregnancy.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)