TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rivals prepare for legal battle over abortion bans in 2 states

AP
FILE - In this March 25, 2013 file photo, Kris Kitko leads chants of protest at an abortion-rights rally at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. Rival legal teams, each well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for high-stakes court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation's toughest bans on abortion. The Arkansas law, approved March 6 when legislators overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. On March 26, North Dakota went even further, with Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signing a measure that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, File)

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 8:03 p.m.
 

Rival legal teams, well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation's toughest bans on abortion.

For all their differences, attorneys for the two states and the abortion-rights supporters opposing them agree on this: The laws represent an unprecedented frontal assault on the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a nationwide right to abortion.

The Arkansas law, approved March 6 when legislators overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. On March 26, North Dakota went further, with Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signing a measure that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected and before some women even know they're pregnant.

Abortion-rights advocates plan to challenge both measures, contending they are unconstitutional violations of the Roe ruling that legalized abortion until a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.

“I think they're going to be blocked immediately by the courts — they are so far outside the clear bounds of what the Supreme Court has said for 40 years,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The center will be leading the North Dakota legal challenge and working in Arkansas alongside the American Civil Liberties Union's state and national offices. Both Northup and ACLU lawyers say they have ample resources to wage the battles, and they expect victories that would require their attorneys' fees to be paid by two states.

Dalrymple, in signing the ban, acknowledged that its chances of surviving a court challenge were questionable, but said it was worth the eventual price tag in order to test the boundaries of Roe.

North Dakota's attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem, initially said lawyers from his office would defend any lawsuits but is now considering hiring outside help. His office is working on a cost estimate for the litigation that could be presented to lawmakers soon.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Calif. oil slick expected to dissipate
  2. Defense memo reveals plan to protect transgender troops
  3. Cincy officer indicted on murder charge in fatal shooting of motorist
  4. Cruz switches targets, takes exception with IRS practices
  5. Ohio cop indicted on murder charge in traffic-stop shooting
  6. House approves bill targeting VA staffers
  7. Obama hopes he has enough votes to sustain a potential veto of Iran nuke deal; pro-Israel groups aim to stop it
  8. Mich. high court strikes down mandatory fees for state employees in unions
  9. New TSA administrator vows training to address security gaps
  10. 911 dispatcher hung up on caller before wounded teen’s death in June
  11. University of New Hampshire language guide panned