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Published April 03, 2013, 09:16 AM

Petitions request North Dakota abortion laws to statewide vote

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Opponents of North Dakota's new anti-abortion laws have begun an attempt to have them repealed by voters.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Opponents of North Dakota's new anti-abortion laws have begun an attempt to have them repealed by voters.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says his office received the requests Tuesday afternoon. Gary Hangsleben of Grand Forks is listed as chairman of the sponsoring committee.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed abortion bills last week that would make North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation to get the procedure. One measure would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. Another would prohibit women from having an abortion because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.

A third measure would require a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

The North Dakota measures are slated to take effect Aug. 1.

Jaeger's office has until April 11 to approve titles for the three petitions.

Each petition needs at least 13,452 valid signatures from North Dakota voters to qualify for a statewide vote. The deadline to gather the signatures is June 24.

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