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Nation's Strictest Abortion Law Banned, For Now

Judge: Fetal heartbeat law is 'clearly invalid and unconstitutional'

Lucia Brown, staff intern

The most restrictive anti-choice law in the country has been banned after a federal judge temporarily blocked it on Monday, calling the North Dakota bill "clearly invalid and unconstitutional." 

The law, which was set to go into effect August 1, would forbid termination once a fetal heartbeat could be detected, which can happen as early as six weeks. Many women do not discover they are pregnant until they are beyond the six-week point.

The judge's injunction is the result of a lawsuit filed by the state's only abortion clinic.

According to Reuters, Red River Women's Clinic argued in its legal challenge to the bill that this restriction would effectively ban nearly 90 percent of the procedures they perform, violating the constitutional reproductive rights of women in the state.

"The nation's most extreme abortion ban has been blocked, and the message to hostile politicians could not be clearer: the rights of women guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and protected by 40 years of Supreme Court precedent cannot be legislated away," commented Bebe Anderson, director of the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The law is just one of four that the GOP-dominated legislature and Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple passed this year in their attempts to restrict abortion rights. 

Lucia Brown is a summer editorial intern at Common Dreams.


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