Judge Rules on ND Abortion Dispute| 8/12/2009
A judge says North Dakota`s only abortion clinic does not have to provide audio of a fetal heartbeat for women who want to end their pregnancies.
Judge Douglas Herman ruled today in a challenge to a new state law. It requires the Red River Women`s Clinic to offer patients ultrasound images of their fetuses at least 24 hours before they have an abortion.
The law also says women must have a chance to listen to the fetal heartbeat.
Opponents of the provision said it was confusing. Herman`s ruling says the clinic has to tell patients the audio may be available. But the judge says the clinic doesn`t have to provide the audio itself.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says Herman`s ruling went along with the state`s own interpretation of the law. Stenehjem says the law is intended to provide women with more information.
Suzanne Stolz is an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. She says Herman`s ruling provides a helpful clarification of what the law means.
Herman`s ruling denied the center`s request for a temporary injunction to block the law from taking effect. Stolz says she`s not sure whether it will be appealed.