North Dakota’s controversial six-week abortion ban has been blocked by a federal judge. The law would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The temporary injunction was granted by US District Judge Daniel Hovland on Monday, ensuing that the law will not take effect on its scheduled date of August 1.
The lawsuit to block the new abortion restrictions was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, reports USA Today. The New York-based organization is representing North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic.
In his ruling, Judge Hovland explained:
“There is no questions that [the North Dakota abortion law] is in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion.”
The federal judge went on to cite Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion until the fetus is able to live outside the womb. He explained that the North Dakota fetal heartbeat abortion law is “clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law” based on Roe v. Wade.
The fetal heartbeat bill was one of four laws regarding abortion passed by North Dakota’s Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple, also a Republican so far this year. Together the laws make North Dakota the most restrictive state in the country when it comes to abortion.
The New York Times notes that Governor Dalrymple called the six-week abortion ban “a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.” The Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal until the fetus is viable. Some politicians and anti-abortion leaders asserted that the presence of a heartbeat is an indicator of some form of viability.
In passing the bill, they stated that they hope the Supreme Court will revisit the issue. But Judge Hovland didn’t take kindly to North Dakota’s six-week abortion ban. He wrote:
“The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.”
The temporary injunction on North Dakota’s fetal heartbeat abortion bill will last until the case goes to trial. It is just one of several abortion restrictions passed by states that have been blocked by a federal judge.
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