Federal Court Rules North Dakota’s Extreme Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ennuipoet/5479818658/in/photolist-9mevb3-abuq8Z-9metiy-9mbpkv-abx8NS-9mevAU-9meuMS-9mbqmX-9mbufc-9mexXd-9meuw5-9meuio-9mbpxZ-9metoN-9meuq9-9mbsnR-9meue3-9metxJ-9mbrqr-9meuUS-9meu2L-9mbrF8-9mbr7n-9meznW-9metP7-9metcL-9mbqfD-9mbrRk-9mevju-9mexdE-9mev4d-9meu8C-abufR8-7JqPY4-bwpEpj-a3kso-5scRZ-5scRS-5scS3">Dave Bledsoe</a>/Flickr

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On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned all abortions after a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge, Daniel Hovland, called the ban—which passed last year and was immediately challenged by the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion provider in the state—”invalid and unconstitutional,” and said it would impose an “undue burden on women seeking to obtain an abortion.”

The North Dakota law is one of the most far-reaching abortion bans in the country. Many women aren’t aware that they are pregnant until well after six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the North Dakota law, those women wouldn’t be able to seek abortions at all.

North Dakota is one of several states that have pushed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In March, a federal judge struck down a similar ban Arkansas had passed last year. But losses in the courts haven’t stopped these efforts from spreading—the Alabama House passed a fetal heartbeat bill last month, and state legislatures in Wyoming, Mississippi, and Ohio have considered similar legislation in the past year.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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