Friday, March 15, 2013

North Dakota to pass strictest anti-abortion law yet? [updated]

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Abortion: My Mind, My Body, My Choice

Only last week, Arkansas Republicans made headlines by overriding their governor’s veto and becoming the first to pass a “fetal heartbeat bill” banning abortion at only 12 weeks (and only a week after setting the limit at 20 weeks). I guess one couldn’t expect North Dakota to take such an affront lying down, though, because anti-choice lawmakers there may now be about to prohibit women from terminating a pregnancy they might not even know they have [original emphasis]:

Republican lawmakers are advancing a “fetal heartbeat” measure to outlaw the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they’re pregnant, and they expect to have enough support to push it though:

House Bill 1456 would make it a felony for a doctor to perform a nonemergency abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as five or six weeks. House Bill 1305 would prohibit abortions sought because a fetus has been or could be diagnosed with any genetically inherited defect, disease or disorder.

The Republican-led state Senate will vote today on the measures, said state Representative Bette Grande of Fargo, who co-sponsored the bills in the Republican-controlled House, where both have passed. Grande said she expects the Senate to approve both and the governor, also a party member, to sign them.

This measure would also necessitate more state-sanctioned rape by unwanted and medically pointless transvaginal ultrasound to detect that fetal heartbeat in the first place. Meanwhile, anti-choice legislators are trying to cram through even more restrictions on women’s reproductive healthcare, including against some forms of contraception. And all this in a state that only has one functioning abortion clinic to begin with … at least until Republicans manage to shut it down, too.

Why don’t they just come out and challenge the Supreme Court to a fistfight already? They could hardly make their contempt for Roe v. Wade more apparent as it is.

UPDATE: 03/15/13 2:40 PM ET —

The bill has passed.