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North Dakota petitions Supreme Court on fetal heartbeat abortion ban

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As Live Action News previously reported, North Dakota’s ban on abortions after detectable heartbeat was blocked in court in 2013, and again in 2014. Earlier this year, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem indicated the state’s intent to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now North Dakota petitioned the high court to take on the case. The petition argues that the Supreme Court should review the legislation, because the fetus viability standard set in 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey “fails to account for advancements in medical science establishing that an unborn child is viable from conception.”

The petition also contends that a beating heart “has been used by both medical doctors and lay people alike for millennia in determining whether a human being is alive or dead.

“The presence of a beating heart in an unborn child should likewise serve as a legitimate point at which a state can ban abortions,” the state argues. “This is particularly true given the growing (and on this record, undisputed) medical evidence of significant physical and psychological harm to women from abortion, and the readiness of the state to assume complete responsibility for any unwanted child, without any civil or criminal liability to the mother.”

The decision to decline or accept the case is in the U.S. Supreme Court’s hands, and that decision will likely come in January or February, though justices could hold off on making a decision indefinitely.

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