- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
N.D. bill would bar most abortions if heartbeat found
Abnormalities also addressed
Question of the Day
One of two North Dakota bills now awaiting the governor’s signature would outlaw most abortions once a “detectable” fetal heartbeat is heard — which could be as early as five or six weeks gestation.
That measure — if enacted — would be the strictest anti-abortion law in the land.
The second bill, also passed by the North Dakota legislature on Friday, would be the first in the nation to prohibit most abortions based solely on a child’s sex or “genetic abnormalities” such as Down syndrome.
Opponents of the law promptly urged North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple not to sign the bills.
Mr. Dalrymple, a Republican, generally opposes abortion, but did not immediately comment on whether he would sign either or both measures.
In both chambers, Republicans have enough votes to override a veto of the two easily passed bills, known as House Bills 1456 (heartbeat bill) and 1305 (sex selection).
Arkansas lawmakers recently made headlines by passing a heartbeat law that prohibited most abortions after 12 weeks gestation if a fetal heartbeat was detected by an abdominal ultrasound. That law —as well as another one that outlaws most abortions after 20 weeks, out of concern that fetuses can feel pain at that age — were both enacted over the veto of Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat.
Both North Dakota bills permit abortions under certain circumstances, such as when the life of the mother is endangered or when there is an ectopic pregnancy. They also set criminal charges for physicians who perform illegal abortions.
“The heartbeat bill is very simple,” State Rep. Bette Grande, a lead sponsor of both bills, explained in a recent blog.
“Everyone understands what a beating heart means. It means life. The Heartbeat Bill prohibits an abortion when the baby’s heartbeat is present, except to protect the life or health of the mother,” Ms. Grande wrote March 12 on SayAnythingBlog.com.
Ms. Grande added that while she would not be surprised by a legal challenge to the heartbeat bill, it is “not intended to overthrow Roe v Wade, as many opponents claim.”
Instead, it was “drafted to fit within the legal framework established by the U.S. Supreme Court,” while recognizing “40 years of advancements in medicine, science and technology.”
During the debate on the second bill, state Sen. Margaret Sitte, a Republican, asked, “Is it right to destroy life because of the perception that a person may not meet someone else’s standards as being acceptable to live?” State Sen. Carolyn Nelson, a Democrat, objected, saying that medical decisions should be made “between a woman, the doctor and her God.”
The North Dakota Catholic Conference applauded the bills.
However, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said the measures are “outrageous and unconstitutional and they will not stand.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Massachusetts lawmakers OK new abortion clinic buffer law
- Mississippi abortion law can't be enforced
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Events honoring 20th National Parents' Day reaffirm family
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Sarah Palin's online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Feds accept boredom, lack of work as excuses for surfing porn on clock
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world