ND Gov. Signs Three Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bills - Expects Two to Face Court Challenge

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | March 26, 2013 | 2:26 PM EDT

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed three sweeping pro-life bills, two of which he expects to be challenged in the courts.

The governor signed HB 1305, which bans abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities. Americans United for Life Pres. Dr. Charmaine Yoest praised the new law for becoming the first in the nation to ban both sex-selective and genetic-based abortions:

"A civil society does not discriminate against people - born and unborn - for their sex or for disability.  We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it," said Dr. Yoest.

"Women in particular have been targeted for death in the womb, and we've also seen dramatic abortion rates for children with disabilities which put them at risk for extinction. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Rep. Bette Grande and the legislators in North Dakota have shown courageous humanity in passing this legislation."

Gov. Dalrymple also signed a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (HB 1456) - which he predicts will have difficulty surviving a court challenge, but is necessary to "discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade":

"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 governor also expects a court challenge to SB 2305, which limits who may perform abortions:

"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."

In anticipation of the lawsuits, the governor called on the legislature to appropriate funds for the court battle: "The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General."

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