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TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, Published February 08 2013

North Dakota House passes two bills limiting abortion

BISMARCK – Legislation passed by the North Dakota House of Representatives on Friday would prohibit abortions if a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus or because of gender selection or genetic abnormalities.

Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, warned House members about the bills, both sponsored by Rep. Betty Grande, R-Fargo.

“With these bills, we know we’re going to court. They are all going to court,” said Hawken, who voted against the bills. “If they are found to be unconstitutional, we are not only going to pay our share but the other share as well.”

Both bills will need to be passed by the Senate.

House Bill 1456, passing by a 63-28 vote, would prohibit abortions if a heartbeat is detected while a baby is in the womb.

House Bill 1305, which passed by a 64-27 vote, would prohibit abortions because of gender or genetic abnormalities. The “prenatal nondiscrimination bill,” as it’s known nationally, received the only discussion from other legislators.

“Everybody knows where they are going to go on those bills,” Grande said. “No reason to have drawn out discussions.”

HB1305 specifically refers to genetic abnormality as, “any defect, disease or disorder that is inherited genetically,” including, “any physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, Down syndrome, albinism, amelia or any other type of physical or mental disability. abnormality or disease.”

Rep. Kylie Oversen, D-Grand Forks, agreed fetuses should not be aborted because of gender or if it has a genetic abnormality. “I wouldn’t be here if that were the case,” said Oversen, who was born with spina bifida.

But Oversen said she voted against the measure because the statistics offered were outdated, it is an intrusion of the confidential relationships between the physician and patient and does not provide language to allow a woman to abort her child even after it has died in the womb.

The bill would make it a class A misdemeanor for a physician to perform such an abortion, punishable by up to one year in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both.

Under HB1456, performing the abortion after six weeks would be a Class C felony, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.

If passed by the Senate, the bill would require a physician to inform a pregnant mother that a heartbeat has been detected and prohibit an abortion thereafter, unless the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy.

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