Weather Updates

N. Dakota bans abortion if heartbeat detected

North DakotGov. Jack Dalrymple seen here 2011 has signed abortibans ineffect thmake procedure illegal for reasons genetic defect or if

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, seen here in 2011, has signed abortion bans into effect that make the procedure illegal for reasons of genetic defect or if there is a detectable heartbeat. | AP

storyidforme: 46788018
tmspicid: 17329228
fileheaderid: 2799917

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation that would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Republican governor also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.

Abortion-rights advocates say the measures signed Tuesday are an attempt to close the state’s sole abortion clinic in Fargo. Supporters of the so-called fetal heartbeat measure say it’s a challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

Abortion-rights advocates say the state will have to defend the legislation in a costly legal fight.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.