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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 27, 2013, 08:00 AM

Some Republicans split on abortion bill signing

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The eyes of the nation are on North Dakota tonight as word spreads that Governor Dalrymple signed legislation that creates the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in country.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The eyes of the nation are on North Dakota tonight as word spreads that Governor Dalrymple signed legislation that creates the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in country.

The bills ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. He also signed a law making North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome. It's set up what will likely be a costly legal battle.

Governor Dalrymple declined an interview to tell North Dakotan's his reasoning for signing into law the landmark anti-abortion legislation, but there are plenty of lawmakers who are willing to reflect on the Governor's actions.

Some lawmakers called the governor's actions a disappointment. Others called it a great day for the babies of North Dakota. Fargo Representative Kathy Hawken, a Republican against her own parties stand, was brought to tears. She says she didn't do a good enough job for the women who were counting on her.

State Representative Kathy Hawken - (R) Fargo) "I have heard unbelievable stories that they have been willing to share with me. And, I feel let down."

Supporters say they expected Dalrymple to sign the bills.

State Representative Bette Grande ā€“ (R) Fargo: "He has stated these bills are very clear, they are about life."

The mixed reviews of the Governor's actions follow months of testimony and emotional debate on the issue.

State Senator Connie Triplett ā€“ (D) Grand Forks: "Our young people are embarrassed on what's going on, in a state where we are trying to attract young people and build our economy and diversify our lifestyle this is just such a large backwards step.ā€

State Representative Bette Grande "North Dakota believes in life of the unborn child and believes the heartbeat is life."

In his statement to lawmakers, Dalrymple says the legislature should set aside money to pay the tab if and when the bills are challenged in federal court.

State Representative Bette Grande "I don't look at as a challenge; I look at it as compliance to what the courts have asked the states to do, to look at this issue."

State Representative Kathy Hawken: "I guess I was very hopeful that he would veto them and Iā€™m extremely disappointed that he didn't."

Governor Dalrymple did say in his statement that the likelihood of the fetal heartbeat bill surviving a court challenge remains in question. He says the bill is a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v Wade.

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