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Toughest Abortion Ban In the United States Overturned

Toughest Abortion Ban In the United States Overturned

The country's toughest abortion law was officially overturned Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled that North Dakota's ban on abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat was unconstitutional. The ruling ensures that North Dakota's sole abortion clinic will remain open and allowed to serve the state's women.

The law, which was signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple in 2013, was a "test" to see how far a state government could push the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. A fetal heartbeat is usually detected somewhere around the six-week mark, which leaves very little time for a woman to recognize she's pregnant and consequently, decide whether or not to proceed with the pregnancy.

The law was originally struck down last year, when a U.S. District Court Judge first ruled that the law was "unconstitutional," but the state appealed the case nonetheless.

Despite the win, North Dakota is still home to some of the strictest abortion policies in the nation. Women must receive counseling to dissuade them from having an abortion, and then wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure after counseling. Abortion is covered by insurance only when the life of the mother is endangered, and any public funds available to cover abortion can be used only in case of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

"We certainly hoped from the beginning when the bill was first proposed in the Legislature that the final outcome would be that the court would say that the state of North Dakota went too far in trying to ban abortions for the women that we served," Tammi Kromenaker, the director of the Red River Women's Clinic (the only place in the state women can receive an abortion), said in a statement.

Here's hoping Tammi and her staff can safely continue serving the women of North Dakota for many years to come.

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