Mainstream Republicans Stand Up to Extremists

Yesterday, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) signed into law three outrageously extreme proposals, making North Dakota the worst state in the country for women seeking legal abortion services.  The most severe of these laws bans abortion from the first detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. This bill poses a number of problems for women and doctors; this early in pregnancy many women are not even aware they are pregnant, and a fetal heartbeat is only detectable at that stage via transvaginal ultrasound.

Experts have agreed that this far-reaching bill is no doubt unconstitutional, and that is the first step by anti-choice groups to challenge the historic Roe v. Wade case in court. In fact, Gov Dalrymple has openly admitted, “Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe vs. Wade.”

The other two laws signed signify an equally egregious overstepping of the state government. One would implement unachievable regulations on the state’s last remaining abortion clinic, and the other prevents abortion of fetus suffering severe genetic defects.

But not all Republicans in North Dakota agree with anti-choice Governor Dalrymple. On Monday, State Rep. Kathy Hawken (R) joined nearly a dozen of her GOP colleagues at the “Stand Up for Women” march on the state capitol. Hawken said, “One of the key tenets of the Republican Party is personal responsibility,” she said.  “I’m personally pro-life, but I vote pro-choice, because you can’t make that decision for anyone else. You just can’t.”

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