North Dakota Governor Signs 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban

Gov. Jack Dalrympe
Gov. Jack Dalrympe

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North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple on Tuesday signed a measure giving the state the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, a bill banning the procedure in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks.

Dalrymple also said the constitutionality of the measure was an open question and said state lawmakers should appropriate money to a litigation fund for the state attorney general to defend against any possible challenges to the law.

"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.

Dalrymple also signed a bill that bans abortions based solely on genetic abnormalities, the first state ban of its kind, and a third bill that requires physicians who perform abortions in the state to have privileges at a nearby hospital that also permits abortions in its facility.

Reporting by Dave Thompson in Bismarck and David Bailey in Minneapolis, editing by Scott Malone

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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