N.D. House Approves Two Antiabortion Bills

February 11, 2013 — The North Dakota House on Friday approved two bills that would outlaw abortion in various instances, the Fargo-Moorhead Inforum reports.

The first measure (HB 1456) would require physicians to inform a pregnant woman if the fetal heartbeat is detectable and would prohibit abortion after that time. A provider convicted of performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The second measure (HB 1305) would ban abortion based on the sex of the fetus or in cases of fetal abnormalities, defined as "any physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, Down syndrome, albinism, Amelia or any other type of physical or mental disability, abnormality or disease." Physicians who perform abortions in such cases could face up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine. The bill would not allow exceptions if the fetus died in the womb, according to state Rep. Kylie Oversen (D), who voted against it.

State Rep. Kathy Hawken (R), who voted against both measures, said, "With these bills, we know we're going to court," adding, "If they are found to be unconstitutional, we are not only going to pay our share but the other share as well."

The bills now head to the state Senate (Jerke, Fargo-Moorhead Inforum, 2/8).