FEBRUARY 28: (AFP OUT) Governor Mitch Daniels (Republican of Indiana), left, shares some thoughts with Governor Jack Dalrymple (Republican of North Dakota), right, prior to U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hosting a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors in the State Dining Room of the White House February 28, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama commented on the Wisconsin labor standoff. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation that would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The Republican governor also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.
Abortion-rights advocates say the measures signed Tuesday are an attempt to close the state's sole abortion clinic in Fargo.
Supporters of the so-called fetal heartbeat measure say it's a challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
Abortion-rights advocates say the state will have to defend the legislation in a costly legal fight.
The Associated Press