Gov. Dalrymple Signs Anti-Abortion Bills - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gov. Dalrymple Signs Anti-Abortion Bills

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North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation that would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The Republican governor also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.

Abortion-rights advocates say the measures signed Tuesday are an attempt to close the state's sole abortion clinic in Fargo. They say the state will have to defend the legislation in a costly legal fight.

Some doctors worry about how the new bills will impact some medical practices, including telemedicine. That is because one of the bills requires doctors to have privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion facility.

Dr. Kristen Cain, an OBGYN and Infertility Specialist says, "Nearly all of us see patients from far away, and we see patients out of state."

Doctor Cain also worries about the ability for women to have abortions in emergency situations.

"We in medicine are experts at finding that point. We're trained to do that. State legislators are not trained in medicine," says Cain.

Supporters of the so-called fetal heart measure say it's a challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

Bishop David Kagan says the signings set the standard for the rest of the United States. He says it took courage for Dalrymple to sign the bills and says this is a shot in the arm for the pro-life movement.

"We legally work to change all the laws in this country so that once again what is etched in stone over the entrance of the Supreme Court of the United States is a fact," explains Kagan.

Dalrymple issued the following statement Tuesday morning:

"North Dakota House and Senate presiding officers:

I have signed HB 1305 which would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities.

I have signed HB 1456 which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.   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.  Because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question. The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.

I have signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota. The added requirement that the hospital privileges must include allowing abortions to take place in their facility greatly increases the chances that this measure will face a court challenge. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and new question for the courts regarding a precise restriction on doctors who perform abortions."

Read the House and Senate Bills in Full, the links are listed to the right.


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