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Judge stops N.D. abortion law from taking effect

BISMARCK -- A federal judge has stopped a strict new North Dakota anti-abortion law from taking effect Aug. 1.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland today ruled the law prohibiting abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which some say is about six weeks, “is clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law” based on the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal.

“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,” Hovland wrote. “The United States Supreme Court has unequivocally said that no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability. North Dakota House Bill 1456 is clearly unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of United States Supreme Court authority.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in June on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic in Fargo. The suit argued the six-week ban would effectively shut down the women’s clinic, denying women their right to seek an abortion.

The law was among the abortion restrictions passed by the state Legislature earlier this year.

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