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North Dakota Abortion Law Overturned by Judge

    April 16, 2014
    Brian Powell
    Comments are off for this post.

Last year, North Dakota’s Republican-led legislature and governor signed into law what abortion rights advocates called the most restrictive law against abortion in the United States. The law, referred to as the fetal heartbeat law, called for the outlaw of abortions in which the fetus’s heartbeat could be detected, limiting the deadline for abortions to as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. Today, a federal judge in North Dakota overturned the legislation, deeming the law “unconstitutional”.

The law was first brought to court by the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, ND. The group believed that the purpose of the law was to push the abortion clinic out of business considering that nearly all abortions would have been outlawed under the legislation. If the legislation was allowed to stand, the closest abortion clinic to residents of North Dakota would have been some 250 miles away.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland submitted an injunction against the law after its passage, stating, “The State of North Dakota has presented no evidence to justify the passage of this troubling law. The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.”

With his position stated a year prior to this particular court hearing, the defense knew their lot was already determined: “He fairly telegraphed it when he issued his preliminary injunction,” stated Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Judge Hovland based his decision on the standing precedent established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, writing in his 25-page decision that, “The United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability. The controversy over a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion will never end. The issue is undoubtedly one of the most divisive of social issues. The United States Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this emotionally-fraught issue but, until that occurs, this Court is obligated to uphold existing Supreme Court precedent.”

Under Roe v. Wade, the viability of a fetus during pregnancy comes anywhere from the 22-24 week mark, much later than the six week bright-line established by the North Dakota law.

Nancy Northrup, CEO and president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, championed Hovland’s decision:

“The court was correct to call this law exactly what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women. But women should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights. We hope today’s decision, along with the long line of decisions striking down these attempts to choke off access to safe and legal abortion services in the U.S., sends a strong message to politicians across the country that our rights cannot be legislated away.”

Included in that long line of decisions striking down anti-abortion laws are Arizona’s law seeking a 20-week abortion ban which the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of and Arkansas’s 12-week abortion law.

Despite the overturning of the legislation, the Attorney General of North Dakota may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States: “There are those who believed that this was a challenge that could go to the Supreme Court. Whether or not that’s likely is something we need to confer about.”

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  • cheyenne1

    I guess having a heart beat does not make you alive. Yet we have federal laws protecting the eggs of birds. If an egg is not a bird and a fetus is not a person, why is the egg protected. Even a virus or bacteria too small for human eyes is considered alive if it is moving on the smear of a microscope. Not life though. So sad

    • Guest

      The bird is an endangered species. A human is not. There is a big different in the environmental factor and balance to the ecosystem.

      • Karen Fandal

        My point exactly a bird is more important than a human life. You still did not explain if a fetus is not a human why is an egg a bird? When is the human fetus is not alive? At what point?

        • Diane

          An egg is protected because we do not get to choose whether that life lives or dies. Just like we have laws against violence that results in the death of an fetus, but still have abortions. The mother gets to make that choice, and who are we to choose whether another species altogether gets to live or not?

          And as far as when a human fetus is alive or not, a human life has not ended until brain waves cease. Even if your heart
          stops, you are not declared dead until brain activity stops. Why would a
          heartbeat be the marker for life if it is not the marker for death?
          someone can still have a beating heart and be medically dead because
          they have no brain activity. so it is the brain, not the heart, that
          marks the beginning.

          • kimberlyclark

            Is this what people talk about in North Dakota? If you only had a brain.

          • Karen Fandal

            Virus and bacteria don’t have a brain or a heart beat they are considered alive. A simple question when is the fetus not alive so you are not kiling it.So you are saying that a fetus has no brain activity? Science disproves that I hear the crickets chirping because you have no answer.

    • Diane

      they are upholding the law. the supreme court rules in Roe vs. Wade that they could not restrict abortions that occur before viability of the fetus. They are upholding that decision. What reason do you have to not allow abortion, other than religious ones? Because religious reasons have no weight in a court of reason and law. It’s called separation of church and state.

      • Karen Fandal

        Oh my why does it have to be religious. It is a matter of a human life who has no say in whether they live or die. You still haven’t answered when is that fetus not alive when the SCOUS passed this law their wasn’t the technology we have today to show the very early development of Human beings. That why

        • kimberlyclark

          Because contraception is the answer but the religious right believes sex is for married people trying to concieve and only then. That’s what this is ALL about. You didn’t know that? Where have you been?

          • Karen Fandal

            Again you are bringing religious in to it. It is a matter of protecting those who cannotbprotect themselves. I happen to believe that all life is precious. Did you believe Dr Gosnell was Good doctor?

    • kimberlyclark

      You would have to be a bird to know. Are you a bird, Ms.?

      • Karen Fandal

        No are you human?

  • kimberlyclark

    If the Pro Life Movement spent the billions buying judges on birth control and preventive education one I might be able to sympathize with them. But that is all a front, they don’t want to stop abortions, they want to stop sex. God created humans as sexual beings. Prevention = Common Sense = Sanity. Insanity = Hannity. They want to criminalize premarital sex, and they will fail, and so many woman live in fear of their religious wrath in a country that supposedly separates church and state.

    • Karen Fandal

      Oh my you are really off the rails? Please have all the premarital you want Justnprotect yourself so the taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for your active sex life Oh.that’s right you always could have an abortion.

      • kimberlyclark

        I hope you are able to understand this. If the Lifesters spent the billions they spend on buy legislators and judges elections on condoms for poor women, you know they don’t make as much as men, and the minimum wage is $7.25, and it’s hard for teens

        • Karen Fandal

          Hope you can understand this. Our local health clinic has a nice big bowl of free conforms. They are just too lazy to come in and get them. Or they are free at school Just ask.

          • kimberlyclark

            Who is they? Black people? Most abortions are performed on white women. What schools give out free condoms? Not public schools. Not high schools. Not schools in North Dakota. Don’t post things that aren’t’ true that can be easily dis-proven. You want to pay for Head Start and public schools and the prison systems for these unwanted babies? A bowl of condoms at an unnamed school that unspecified people are to lazy to pick up isn’t an intelligent response. Birth Control Pills, IUDs, consensual vasectomies ans sterilizations are more effective than condoms. Sex is often a last minute thing driven by the hormones your god put in humans. You may not have these feelings, but young people due. You don’t want to stop abortion, you want “them” to stop having sex. God help you on judgement day.

          • kimberlyclark

            Hate is bad for the health, Karen. Why were you in your “local clinic” to pick up condems? How many teenagers go to these mythical clinics. We both agree there is a problem. Your solutions aren’t working. “They are just too lazy” doesn’t save the tax payers a dime. How do we reach these lazy people so we don’t have to kill their babies. Think, Karen, think.

          • Karen Fandal

            Typical liberal response I must hate people because I have a different view than you on abortion. As far as being in the health clinic I was there to get my daughter’s immunizations for school. You must be a racist I never mentioned race you did. The word “they” referred to those who do not take responsibility for their actions. I believe it is you who needs to think because name calling stifles discussion.

          • kimberlyclark

            I can read between the lines. We know who “they” are. They are lazy people. Do you want to demonize “lazy” people or stop abortion. I question your motives. I still contend it is sex that is the demon, not abortion. Are you going to bring your daughter back for the HPV vaccine when she is old enough or would you rather risk cervical cancer than “encourage” her to have sex? Yeah

          • Karen Fandal

            Wow now you are a Mind reader and can read between the lines. What a talent. By the way she has had that preventative shot. Is now a regional marketing Vp married to a wonderful young man and a productive member of society. You are obsessed with sex. This is my last post in this idiotic discussion.

          • kimberlyclark

            Why are you taking your adult married daughter to get vaccinations at the “health clinic?” Shingles?