Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Judge blocks North Dakota abortion law

  • Print

A federal judge in North Dakota on Monday temporarily blocked the state's law banning abortions as early as six weeks after fertilization, calling the legislation "clearly unconstitutional."

The preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland means that the nation's most restrictive abortion law, which would bar abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, will not take effect Aug. 1 as planned.

The ruling also suggests that, even as states across the country enact measures limiting abortion access, some of the laws may never take effect because of stiff legal challenges.

Hovland's ruling criticized the North Dakota measure in harsh terms, calling it "clearly unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of United States Supreme Court authority."

"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."

While the issue of viability is left to individual doctors to determine, it is usually considered to be 24 weeks after fertilization.

Jeff Zent, a spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, R, declined to comment on the ruling. "It's standard practice in our office not to comment on ongoing litigation," he said.

When Dalrymple signed the bill into law in March, he acknowledged it would face a major fight in court. Several other new abortion laws, in states ranging from Wisconsin to Arizona, are being challenged in state and federal courts.

"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Dalrymple said in a statement at the time.

The injunction by Hovland was issued in response to a request from the Center for Reproductive Rights. Bebe Anderson, director of the group's U.S. legal program, praised the ruling.

"The nation's most extreme abortion ban has been blocked, and the message to hostile politicians could not be clearer: The rights of women guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and protected by 40 years of Supreme Court precedent cannot be legislated away," Anderson said.


-- The Washington Post

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 23, 2013 A12

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Peguis Chief Hudson comments on toddler's death upgrade to homicide investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google