I have to wonder if anti-choice lawmakers have some kind of bet going on as to who can pass the most extreme anti-woman law this year because there has to be an explanation for this monstrosity coming out of North Dakota.
Anti-choice lawmakers in the oil-rich state passed a series of regulations, including a straight “heartbeat ban” that would make abortion illegal at the point that an embryonic heart beat can be detected, which is typically around 6 weeks pregnancy or earlier via transvaginal ultrasound. Another restriction would also ban abortions based on the gender of the fetus while yet another bans abortions based solely on genetic abnormalities.
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights which represents the only clinic in the state to provide abortions, the six-week ban would take effect before many women would know they were pregnant. “The passage of this law is nothing short of a frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution, 40 years of Supreme Court precedent, and the health and fundamental rights of women,” said Nancy Northup, the center’s president and CEO.
Both the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood urged Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple to veto both bills. More than half of the patients at a Planned Parenthood clinic across the border from Fargo in Moorhead, Minnesota, are North Dakota residents. “With this vote, politicians in North Dakota have proven their disregard for a woman’s personal medical decision-making,” Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said in a statement.
Don’t think banning abortion before most women even know they are pregnant is the end of the restrictions anti-choice lawmakers in North Dakota have planned this year. They are also considering several bills that would put restrictions on abortion including a proposed amendment to the state constitution that declares that life begins at conception. That would be put before voters in November 2014 if the state House approves the provision.
Women’s health advocates plan to challenge the 6 week ban in court, but given how much money the state has from its oil exploits, the idea of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars defending a clearly unconstitutional law is not something they are worried about. And that’s likely why anti-choice lawmakers chose North Dakota to push the 6 week ban in the first place.
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