6-Week Abortion Bans

By Estella Johnson

In 2013, the North Dakota State Senate approved a bill that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected- something that usually occurs around six weeks into a pregnancy.  This law in theory would ban almost all abortions. Many women do not know until much later in a pregnancy that they are pregnant at all. Under this bill, women seeking abortions would not face criminal charges; however, doctor’s caught performing abortions after a heartbeat is detected could face five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Pro-choice advocates in North Dakota suspect this bill is an attempt to close the only remaining abortion clinic in the state, which is located in Fargo. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-dakota-senate-approves-6-week-abortion-ban/

In 2015 the 8th circuit court of appeals struck down the North Dakota 6-week abortion ban. According to the court, the ban violated the Supreme Court precedent that makes abortion legal until the fetus is viable outside the womb (usually around 24 weeks).https://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/north-dakota-abortion-ban-120467

In 2016, the Supreme Court decided to not review the case, permanently blocking North Dakota’s fetal heartbeat law.  https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/25/464311731/supreme-court-rejects-north-dakota-s-bid-to-save-strict-abortion-law

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds plans to sign a bill to ban abortion after 6 weeks. The ACLU has already stated that it plans to sue if the law gets signed.  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/iowa-governor-says-shell-sign-6-week-abortion-ban-into-law

An Iowa judge temporarily blocked the 6-week ban from going into effect until a lawsuit brought forth by Planned Parenthood and the Iowa branch of the ACLU is resolved.  https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/390241-judge-temporarily-blocks-iowas-six-week-abortion-ban