Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Dakota abortion restrictions go too far, judge rules

A federal judge on Monday blocked enforcement of North Dakota's recently enacted ban on most abortions, calling it "invalid and unconstitutional."

The law under challenge, which was set to take effect Aug. 1, would have imposed by far the country's most stringent limit on abortions. With few exceptions, it would bar the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often about six weeks into pregnancy — a point when many women are not aware they are pregnant.

From the moment in March when it was adopted, most legal experts said that the law would not survive because it posed a direct challenge to Supreme Court guidelines, which state that a woman has a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb. Viability must be determined by a physician and often occurs around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Some antiabortion leaders and politicians argued that the presence of a heartbeat is, in itself, a form of viability. They expressed hope that the Supreme Court would revisit the issue.

When he signed the bill, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, called it "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe vs. Wade."

In a withering opinion issued on Monday, Judge Daniel Hovland of the U.S. District Court in North Dakota said he had no choice but to block the law. He described it as "in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion."

His decision Monday imposed a temporary injunction, until the issue is decided at a trial.

North Dakota's law is the most far-reaching among scores of restrictive abortion statutes, many of them under court challenge, that have been passed by state governments in recent years. A dozen states, most recently Texas, have adopted laws barring abortions at 20 weeks after conception on the disputed theory that the fetus can feel pain at that point.

North Dakota abortion restrictions go too far, judge rules 07/22/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 22, 2013 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'

    Blogs

    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Each episode of Room 104 follows the guests of a single motel rom and the strange and wonderful things they experience.
  2. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  3. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

    World

    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]
  4. Editorial: Here's one way Florida courts can measure a quality education

    Editorials

    The question before the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee is whether Florida is following its constitutional duty to provide a high-quality education to public school students. The point was originally raised in a lawsuit brought by advocacy and parents groups and dismissed by a circuit judge in 2016. When it …

    The question before the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee is whether Florida is following its constitutional duty to provide a high-quality education to public school students.
  5. Paul Shanley, ex-priest in Boston sex abuse scandal, released from prison

    Nation

    BOSTON — A notorious figure in Boston's Roman Catholic priest sex abuse scandal was quietly released from prison Friday morning after completing a 12-year sentence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s.

    This undated identification photo released via the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board website shows Paul Shanley, released Friday from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, Mass. Shanley, now 86, was a figure in the Boston Roman Catholic priest sex abuse scandal. He was released after completing a 12-year sentence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s. [Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board via AP]