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North Dakota Senate Approves Most Restrictive Abortion Ban to Date

Update Date: Mar 16, 2013 01:12 PM EDT

The fight for the antiabortion movement just got stronger as the North Dakota Senate passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States history. The House already passed the bill last month, and if it gets signed into law, women can no longer get an abortion once there is a fetal heartbeat detected, which can be as early as six weeks. The abortion bill will go to Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple as early as Monday morning, who will have the ultimate decision to either sign it in law or veto it.

If the bill becomes a law, North Dakota will be the first state to ban abortions this early on during pregnancy. Arkansas recently altered its abortion rule stating that once the woman is over 12 weeks pregnant, she can no loner have an abortion. Most abortion laws allow the women to be up to 20 weeks pregnant. The North Dakota, "heartbeat" bill states that other than the heartbeat indication of life, women cannot have abortions due to genetic abnormalities and because of the gender of the child. North Dakota is the first state to include the genetic abnormalities factor and the fourth to specify gender-related abortions. The one exception is only if the abortion will save the mother from death or life threatening health complications. It does not include victims of rape.

The opposition to this new heartbeat bill states that six weeks is extremely early for a woman to realize that she may be pregnant. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, most women do not find out that early on, and by the time they do find out, their decisions to keep or terminate their pregnancy would have already been decided by the state, leaving them no freedom to choose.

Planned Parenthood has urgently asked the Governor to veto the bill. The president and CEO of the organization in North Dakota, Sarah Stoesz stated, "With this vote, politicians in North Dakota have proven their disregard for a women's personal medical decision-making."

Whether or not this bill will become a law, the fact that it passed in both the senate and the house is a direct challenge to the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that stated that abortions are legal. The future of the bill will be decided in the upcoming days or weeks. 

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