North Dakota's Senate today passed two abortion bills that will be the most restrictive in the nation, reports Fox News.
Here's what you need to know...
1. The Law Makes it Illegal for Women to Obtain Abortions After Six Weeks
Lawmakers chose six weeks as the cut-off point for abortions due to research that suggests the fetal heart begins to beat at that time. Americanpregnancy.org says:
5 Â½ to 6 Â½ weeks is usually a very good time to detect either a fetal pole or even a fetal heart beat by vaginal ultrasound.
But that pregnancy dating is not always accurate, and more than one ultrasound is recommended to confirm the heartbeat.
2. It Will Prevent Women From Having Abortions Based on Genetic Defects
This will primarily impact those who are pregnant with babies diagnosed with down syndrome. The new bill will make it illegal for mothers to abort babies due to conditions like this. A 2008 study found that mother's were becoming less likely to abort due to down syndrome diagnosis. Rep. Bette Grande, who's been a driving force behind the bill commented on what she perceived to be discrimination against those with mental illness:
It takes you back to Hitler, and we know where that went, he started going after those with abnormalities, and I think itâ€™s an absurdity we would go back to that kind of thing.
3. Rep. Bette Grande of Fargo has Been a Driving Force Behind Both Bills
Grande been a constant pro-life activist for all of her political career. Her various political runs have been endorsed by pro-life groups. Grande has also argued that abortion decisions are regularly made based on sex, and that this targets females in particular.
4. There are Concerns that the Law will Force Women into "Backdoor Abortions"
Pro-choice advocates have long stated that stricter abortion legislation merely pushes those seeking abortions into illegal options. Dr. Ted Klinemen said in the Grand Forks Herald that he:
...saw at least one woman die from a botched illegal abortion while working at a New York hospital before a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized abortion. The thought of returning to those days is really beyond imagination...
5. In 2012, There Were 43 Laws Passed Regarding Abortion in the U.S.
But this was down on 2011, which broke records as 92 different laws were passed in different states. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reports:
Over the course of 2011, legislators in all 50 states introduced more than 1,100 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. At the end of it all, states had adopted 135 new reproductive health provisionsâ€”a dramatic increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.1 Fully 92 of the enacted provisions seek to restrict abortion, shattering the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005 (see chart). A striking 68% of the reproductive health provisions from 2011 are abortion restrictions, compared with only 26% the year before.
6. The Law Will Take Effect as Soon as it is Signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple
The Republican governor has indicated that he will sign the bill into law when it arrives on his desk. Dalrymple is described as having "no stance" on abortion from OnTheIssues.org.
7. Earlier This Month, Arkansas Passed a Law Banning Abortions After 12 Weeks
The Republican led senate in Arkansas voted 26-8 in favor of criminalizing abortions after 12 weeks. In that case, the Democrat Governor Mike Beebe has called the bill "unconstitutional." It's not known yet if Beebe will veto the bill.
8. The ACLU is Outraged at the Bill
The ACLU has called this bill the most restrictive U.S. abortion bill since 1990 in Guam, when the government passed an outright ban. The bill was signed by Gov. Joseph F. Ada, it was the first direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. In 1991, the ban was overturned by the United States Supreme Court which re-legalized abortions in the US territory.
9. Supporters of the Bill are Hoping it Will Eventually Lead to a Challenge of Roe v. Wade
Bette Grande has expressed a hope that the North Dakota bill will lead to a challenge of Roe v. Wade. Grande has referred to the bill as the "Fetal Heartbeat Measure", and hopes it sends a clear message that North Dakota is pro-life and ready to take the fight to Washington D.C.
10. The Bill Could Lead to the Criminalization of Some Forms of Contraception
The bill, which recognizes that "life begins at conception", in theory, should outlaw the morning-after bill.