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Appeal Filed Over N.D. 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban

Appeal Filed Over N.D. 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban

May 15, 2014 — North Dakota has appealed a judge's ruling that overturned a state law (HB 1456) banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which can be as early as six weeks of pregnancy, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) said the ruling striking down the law was expected, adding that state legislators have hoped that "a higher court would revisit the issue." He said, "It seems prudent that an appellate court should have an opportunity to consider the issue rather than have one judge overturn the judgment of the Legislative Assembly."

Stenehjem's office filed the notice of appeal in U.S. District Court in Bismarck. Written arguments are expected in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, with a hearing possibly scheduled for the fall, according to the AP/Bee (MacPherson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/14).