Lawsuits expected following North Dakota abortion legislation

7:13 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple acknowledges a court battle is likely after he signed legislation banning most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected - something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The Republican governor says in a statement that "the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question." He calls the measure "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries" of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Dalrymple on Tuesday also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.

He also endorsed a measure that requires a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he also expects to see the laws end up in court.

"In that event it's the duty of the Attorney General under the constitution to defend the enactment of the legislature and of course that's what we'll do," he said. "That's what I took an oath to do and I will proceed accordingly."

The governor asked the Legislature to set aside money for the potential lawsuit.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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