Bill to Ban Abortion at Six Weeks Advances 

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AP - The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Associated Press 

Lawmakers in North Dakota's House passed a bill Monday that would criminalize abortions after six weeks of gestation -- even in cases of rape or incest, the Bismarck Tribune reported. 

The bill still requires approval from the Senate and governor to become law. 

Opponents of the bill said six weeks is too early to ban abortions because many women don't know they are pregnant by that time. Supporters of the bill said passing it would further the state's tradition of protecting all life, including the unborn. 

Republican Rep. Dan Ruby, of Minot, said in support of the bill on the House floor, "We have a chance to clean up language in our law, make some improvements to it, adjust to it due to the nature of what we did before the overturning of Roe v. Wade to what is being done now." 

Democratic Rep. Gretchen Dobervich, of Fargo, opposed the bill. The House panel had rejected her amendment to change the six weeks to 12 weeks for "a woman who has been the victim of sexual violence in which a pregnancy results." 

Last month, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a state abortion ban will remain blocked while a lawsuit over its constitutionality proceeds. 

"We're going to send another message to the North Dakota Supreme Court. This is what this Legislature wants. We want pro-life in North Dakota," House Majority Leader Mike Lefor, a Republican of Dickinson, said Monday on the House floor in support of the bill. 

The bill passed with a 76-14 vote, largely on party lines but with a few exceptions. 

Democratic Rep. Alisa Mitskog, of Wahpeton, was the only person in her party to vote in favor of the bill. And three Republicans voted against it. They were Rep. Eric Murphy of Grand Forks, Rep. Shannon Roers Jones of Fargo and Rep. Steve Swiontek of Fargo. 

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