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North Dakota has enacted a passel of laws that would all but end abortion in the Peace Garden State. But one of the worst—which barred abortions as early as six weeks—was permanently shot down as unconstitutional by a federal district court ruling Wednesday.

In his 25-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland wrote: “The United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.”

The law would have prohibited abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It was immediately challenged by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo. The clinic is North Dakota's only abortion provider. Hovland granted a preliminary injunction against the bill in July.

In a statement, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said:

“The court was correct to call this law exactly what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women. But women should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights. We hope today’s decision, along with the long line of decisions striking down these attempts to choke off access to safe and legal abortion services in the U.S., sends a strong message to politicians across the country that our rights cannot be legislated away.”
The center is also challenging a North Dakota law banning medication abortions.

Arkansas also had tried to impose a ban after six weeks based on detection of fetal heartbeat. That law was amended to 12 weeks in the face of public opposition. But it didn't stop U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright from ruling last month that the law "impermissibly infringes a woman's Fourteenth Amendment right to elect to terminate a pregnancy before viability" of the fetus. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe had vetoed the ban, but the legislature overrode him.

The news from Arizona is below the fold.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, where forced-birthers have worked hard to impose laws making abortions harder to obtain, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer approved a bill that makes her state the 11th where warrantless surprise inspections of abortion clinics are permitted.

Arizona tried to impose warrantless inspections 15 years ago, but that law was overturned in 2010 as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. Subsequently, a settlement was reached. But the new law violates the settlement say foes of the snap inspections:

"[The new law] literally opens the door to harassment of women and their health care providers as these women are receiving abortion care," said Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. "We continue to believe that the legislation violates the rules governing abortion clinic inspections to which the state specifically agreed in 2010. It's on that basis that we expect a legal challenge."
Advocates of the new law say it will pass court review this time because of new abortion clinic regulations the state has adopted.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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