N.D. Lawmakers Urge Gov. To Veto Abortion Restrictions

March 21, 2013 — A bipartisan group of North Dakota lawmakers is urging Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) to veto legislation that would enact the nation's most-restrictive abortion measures, the AP/Redwood Falls Gazette reports (MacPherson, AP/Redwood Falls Gazette, 3/20).

Last week, the state Senate voted to approve a bill (HB 1456) that would ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy -- the earliest limit in the U.S. -- if a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Separately, senators approved a measure (HB 1305) that would ban abortions sought for genetic abnormalities or the sex of the fetus. North Dakota would become the first state to ban abortions because of evidence of fetal abnormalities, and the fourth state -- behind Arizona, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania -- to ban abortions sought because of the sex of the fetus (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/18).

At a meeting on Monday with Dalrymple and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (R), about 10 lawmakers expressed unease about the legislation. "There is concern that we are making laws outlawing a perfectly legal procedure," state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R) said. She also raised concern about the costs of defending the legislation in court.

As of Tuesday, the bills had not been formally presented to the governor, according to a Dalrymple spokesperson. The governor has three legislative days to sign or veto a bill once it is received.

Hawken noted that even if the governor vetoes the bills, the Legislature could override his decision (AP/Redwood Falls Gazette, 3/20).