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North Dakota Senate passes 6-week abortion ban

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM   |   Comments

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March 15 (UPI) -- Two anti-abortion bills passed the North Dakota Senate on Friday that would be the first laws of their kind in the United States, and would ban most abortions in North Dakota.

The so-called "heartbeat" ban would ban abortions as soon as fetal heartbeat can be detected, in some cases as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Another bill bans abortions for gender selection or in cases of fetal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.

The law would subject doctors to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison for violations. Opponents of the heartbeat bill argue that it would ban abortions in some cases before the woman even realizes she is pregnant.

North Dakota's only existing abortion clinic, the Red River Women's Clinic, is already challenging the state's existing restrictions on medication abortions. State lawmakers are also considering a personhood bill and a bill that would require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.

The bills now pass to Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) who will have three days to veto the bill.

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