Communications Department

NRLC Responds to Challenge of North Dakota Heartbeat Law

Jul 23, 2009 | 2009 Press Releases

National Right to Life today responded to news that The Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota, is asking for a temporary injunction against the new life-affirming heartbeat law in North Dakota. The law, which was passed this spring, requires that a woman seeking an abortion be offered the opportunity to see an ultrasound of her unborn child and hear the fetal heartbeat, which can begin as early as eighteen days after fertilization.

“It’s unclear why a clinic, which claims to care about women, would be afraid to offer their patients all the vital and relevant information before performing a life-changing and intrusive medical procedure,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., State Legislation Director for the National Right to Life Committee. “Diagnostic ultrasounds and listening to the fetal heartbeat provides mothers accurate information about the development of their unborn child. Why is the abortion industry afraid of these tools?”

The North Dakota ultrasound law not only provides the mother the opportunity to see a visual image of her child, but also allows her to hear her baby’s heartbeat, joining six other states with similar provisions. The bill was designed to offer the mother the most information while placing the entirety of the burden upon the abortionist.

The law was passed by overwhelming margins in both the North Dakota House of Representatives (77-9) and the Senate (44-1).

“We want women to be informed, and receive all possible information available – much of which has historically been omitted by those in the abortion industry,” Balch said. “It is shameful in our society that women cannot rely on abortionists to voluntarily provide them with information that would help them make the best decision for themselves and their unborn children”

NRLC’s Mary Spaulding Balch is available for interviews regarding the North Dakota heartbeat law and the growing trend to enact similar laws in other states.

The National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life group is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and 3,000 local chapters nationwide.