BISMARCK, N.D. — A measure to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that a fetus can by then feel pain was sent to North Dakota’s governor on Friday.
The Legislature is taking a multipronged approach trying to make North Dakota the most restrictive state in which to get the procedure, with Governor Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, having signed three measures into law. Lawmakers’ intent is to challenge the 1973 US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
The so-called “fetal pain” bill passed the House on Friday with a 60 to 32 vote. The bill, which was approved by the Senate 30 to 17 in February, now goes to the governor, who has hinted he will sign it.
Representative Gail Mooney, Democrat of Cummings, opposed the measure and said the state has already made its point that it is antiabortion with the other measures, including one that bans abortions when a heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.
State Senator Joe Miller, a Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor, said the measure was “a different precedent and a different strategy” than other antiabortion measures.
“The fetal heartbeat bill is what it is and this is what it is,” said Miller, a farmer from Park River. “We all came forward with different ideas.”
— ASSOCIATED PRESS