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Published March 26, 2013, 11:50 AM

Lawmakers, local residents react to anti-abortion law

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed three abortion-limiting bills passed by the North Dakota Legislature, giving the state the most anti-abortion laws of any U.S. state and setting up possible legal challenges over provisions critics say are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.

North Dakota now has the strictest abortion laws in the nation. Governor Jack Dalrymple signed three bills today stripping away abortion rights. While the governor declined to tell North Dakotan's his reasoning for signing this landmark legislation into law, lawmakers have plenty to say.

Rep. Bette Grande, (R) Fargo: "It's a great day for the babies of North Dakota."

Today, after public protest, Governor Jack Dalrymple inked and endorsed three highly controversial anti-abortion laws.

Rep. Kathy Hawken, (R) Fargo: "I was hopeful he would veto them and extremely disappointed he didn't. They are unconstitutional."

Grande: "we are showing the citizens in the nation and the world that North Dakota believes in life of the unborn child."

And while lawmakers share mixed reviews, so do the citizens of North Dakota. Still, Dalyrmple released a statement today that says the bill is "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v Wade." But, local law experts call the Governor's statement "constitutionally naive."

Steven R. Morrison, UND Associate Professor of Constitutional Law: "If the Governor thinks these bills have a legitimate chance of addressing Roe v. Wade or being successful in the court, I would suggest that he needs to get new legal advisors."

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the State is already gearing up for what is likely to be an extended legal battle over the new laws restricting abortion.

The bills, explained

Here are the three new laws, simply put. The first makes abortion illegal based on gender or genetic abnormalities.

The second makes abortion illegal if a heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as five and a half weeks.

And the third would require doctors who want to perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals around the state.

Local response

Hundreds of WDAZ viewers have weighed in on our Facebook page. Some supporting legislators, and some against the new laws. One comment says "Congratulations North Dakota.... Hopefully other states will follow your lead."

Another says "Good thing we have a supreme court system."

And then there are comments eluding to what else could be affected from these new laws. Jessica Irwin writes, "As a social worker, I can just assume abuse and other welfare issues will rise now." D.J. Greenberg says "I hope the state will provide a ton more funding for foster children... That's an area that needs help anyway."

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