U.S. District Judge Blocks N.D. Abortion Law

by Sterling Beard

A federal judge has granted a temporary injunction blocking North Dakota’s law restricting abortions in cases where the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. district judge Daniel Hovland blocked the law, which was scheduled to take effect August 1, writing, “There is no question that [the law] is in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion.” Hovland called the law “clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade from 1973 . . . and the progeny of cases that have followed.”

The legislation in question, which could outlaw abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, was passed by the North Dakota state house in February by a 63–28 vote. It passed the North Dakota senate in March by a 26–17 margin, and was signed by Republican governor Jack Dalrymple that same month.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in June on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, N.D., the state’s only abortion clinic.