Protestors demonstrate during the March For Life anti-abortion rally. (Credit: AP)

Protestors demonstrate during the March For Life anti-abortion rally. (Credit: AP)

On Wednesday, a federal judge overturned a North Dakota law banning abortions after six weeks. Under this law – also referred to as the “fetal heartbeat” law – a doctor who performed an abortion after six weeks would’ve been charged with a felony and sentenced to five years in prison.

“The North Dakota strict ban on abortions at the time when a ‘heartbeat’ has been detected – essentially banning all abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy – cannot withstand a constitutional challenge,” writes U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland. “A woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court for more than 40 years. The United States Supreme Court has clearly determined the dispositive issue presented in this lawsuit. This court is not free to impose its own view of the law.”

Reproductive rights advocates celebrated the victory, but they also expressed fatigue from having to repeatedly go to court to preserve access to abortion care.

“The court was correct to call this law exactly what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all woman,” says Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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  • Good Decision.

  • Me

    i already know i’m not about to be popular on this article so i’ll just ask one question: at what point is the baby/fetus too close to being born to go thru w/abortion? if knowing it has a hearbeat ain’t enough to let it live, what’s the cutoff point?

    • elle D.

      Sigh. At the end of the day though, what difference does it make as long as you are not the one having the abortion?

    • Me

      fyi i make comments on alotta things that i’m not the one doing specifically… just in case your breathing is tied to what i write. just cuz i don’t do it don’t mean i don’t have opinions or questions about it. folks like to use that whole “it don’t affect you so why you worried” line as excuse for everything they do nowadays instead of actually having conversations but then turn around & wonder why bad things happen in the world & why nobody’s doing enough to make things better.

    • AbigailTea

      You have nothing to worry about.

    • elle D.

      And even though my comment was a response to you,it represents a response to those who may feel like your comment represents their version of a so-called “pro-life” stance. That is why I wrote it. It seems as if you are the one who is a bit defensive. We all have opinions right?

    • Riyo.Chiasa

      Easy, just take a look at a reproduction chart.

    • EricaS

      The heartbeat starts beating around 4 weeks. But a embryo/fetus is NOT viable until around 24 weeks. Banning abortion at the time a heartbeat is detected is a violation of carrier’s right. By the time most women discovered their pregnant a heartbeat is already detected. A woman should not have to be an “incubator” for a nonviable (cannot live outside the carrier’s body alone) embryo if she does not wishes. She should not be forced to assume the risks of pregnancy and childbirth if she wishes not to. Woman should be able to make these decisions about their body. This is important.

  • AbigailTea

    It would have specifically outlawed First Trimester entirely.That is why it was thankfully declared unconstitutional.
    Six weeks–that is within the first trimester and in the embryonic stage. The size of a LENTIL. That is not viable.