Federal Court Rules North Dakota’s Extreme Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ennuipoet/5479818658/in/photolist-9mevb3-abuq8Z-9metiy-9mbpkv-abx8NS-9mevAU-9meuMS-9mbqmX-9mbufc-9mexXd-9meuw5-9meuio-9mbpxZ-9metoN-9meuq9-9mbsnR-9meue3-9metxJ-9mbrqr-9meuUS-9meu2L-9mbrF8-9mbr7n-9meznW-9metP7-9metcL-9mbqfD-9mbrRk-9mevju-9mexdE-9mev4d-9meu8C-abufR8-7JqPY4-bwpEpj-a3kso-5scRZ-5scRS-5scS3">Dave Bledsoe</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned all abortions after a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge, Daniel Hovland, called the ban—which passed last year and was immediately challenged by the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion provider in the state—”invalid and unconstitutional,” and said it would impose an “undue burden on women seeking to obtain an abortion.”

The North Dakota law is one of the most far-reaching abortion bans in the country. Many women aren’t aware that they are pregnant until well after six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the North Dakota law, those women wouldn’t be able to seek abortions at all.

North Dakota is one of several states that have pushed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In March, a federal judge struck down a similar ban Arkansas had passed last year. But losses in the courts haven’t stopped these efforts from spreading—the Alabama House passed a fetal heartbeat bill last month, and state legislatures in Wyoming, Mississippi, and Ohio have considered similar legislation in the past year.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate