It hasn’t even been two weeks, but Arkansas may not hold the title for the state with the most extreme abortion ban in the country for much longer. On Friday, the North Dakota legislature approved a “heartbeat” bill that, like Arkansas’ original proposal, would ban abortions as early as six weeks.
Little more than a week after Arkansas adopted the country’s most stringent abortion limits, banning the procedure at 12 weeks of pregnancy, the North Dakota Legislature on Friday passed a more restrictive bill that would ban most abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy.
The Legislature, which is dominated by Republicans, also passed a second measure that would ban abortions sought because of a genetic abnormality or to select the sex of the child.
Banning abortions because of fetal anomalies is also something no other state has ever tried.
If signed into law by the Governor, North Dakotans would have two weeks after a missed period to realize they’re pregnant, make an appointment, and jump through all the hoops required to get an abortion. In a state which has only one abortion clinic, that could actually be impossible. Only about 1,200 abortions are preformed in the state each year, and according to the Guttmacher Institute, this ban could outlaw more than 75 percent of them.
As Sarah Kliff notes, such heartbeat bills–and other measures that clearly fly in the face of Roe v. Wade–are controversial within an anti-choice movement that is split between those who advocate chipping away at abortion rights within the confines of the existing legal framework, and those who say, “Fuck it, let’s go all in.” (That’s paraphrased, obviously.) And it seems the extremists may be “gaining new traction like never before.”
Unfortunately, unlike most states, North Dakota might feel they have the money to waste on a long and costly legal battle to defend these unconstitutional laws. Gov. Jack Dalrymple is expected to consider the bills today. Not that it should matter–and not that it likely will–but the Governor has four daughters of his own. You can contact him here to tell him to veto the bills.