The North Dakota legislature has passed a pair of bills that, if signed by Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple, will give the state the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation. On March 15 the state senate gave its final approval to a bill that would ban most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, as well as another measure prohibiting a woman from having an abortion because of indications her pre-born baby has a genetic defect such as Down syndrome. The bill would also ban abortions based on sex selection.
Passage of the measures comes just a week after Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed legislation banning abortion in that state after 12 weeks of pregnancy, a law that is slated to go into effect this summer. North Dakota Gov. Dalrymple is expected to announce his intentions on the abortion bills within days.
Proponents of the bills said the goal is to challenge the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that effectively legalized abortion throughout the United States at up to 22-24 weeks of pregnancy. The pro-life North Dakota Family Alliance Action explained that the purpose of the Heartbeat Bill (HB 1456) is to stop abortion if an unborn child has a detectable heartbeat. “We all know the significance of a beating heart,” the group said in a statement. “We may have witnessed the loss of a loved one being cared for in a hospital, one moment hearing the presence of the heartbeat via the heart monitoring machine, the next moment experiencing the deafening silence of a heart beating no more. The heartbeat offers an undeniable truth about life.... Just as we protect life, a living being, until that heart stops beating, no matter the age, we must afford that same protection when that heartbeat becomes detectable in the unborn.”
The group told LifeNews.com that the “issue of abortion may become complex at times, and obviously has for many years — as we have witnessed the discussion and debate. But the issue becomes very simple, if we go back to a very foundational truth — that we as a people, as a government, are to secure and protect the right of life.”
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