Arkansas approved a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks, making it the earliest ban in the country, but now North Dakota has taken it even further.
The bill would ban abortions at approximately six weeks making it the earliest abortion ban in the nation, and it would also ban most abortions after a heartbeat is detected — typically around six or seven weeks into pregnancy, unless the health or life of the mother is at stake.
Until now, the earliest abortion ban in the country was at 20 weeks of pregnancy until this year, and the earlier bans have abortion rights groups speaking out and challenging the 12 week Arkansas ban.
Activists are calling the ban unconstitutional saying it violates the Roe v. Wade precedent that stipulates an abortion cannot be restricted before viability, which is now generally considered to be 23 to 24 weeks.
Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), urged the governor to veto the ban and put the decision to have an abortion “back in the hands of a woman, her family and her doctor, where it belongs.”
Mississippi, Wyoming, Kansas and Kentucky have also introduced bills to ban abortion after a detectable heartbeat.