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Supreme Court declines to hear ND abortion law case

It was called the strictest anti-abortion law in the nation.

But it will no longer be on the books.

The Supreme Court will not be taking a case involving North Dakota’s law that prohibited abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected – and that could be as early as six weeks. Lower federal courts found it unconstitutional. North Dakota appealed to the Supreme Court, but the high court has declined to hear it. That wipes the law off the books.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he wasn't surprised.

"Everybody knew it was a long shot," Stenehjem said. "When Arizona -- who had a 20-week ban -- had its petition for review denied, and Arkansas -- who had a 12 week ban -- was likewise denied, I thought it was rather unlikely they would take ours at six weeks."

"We're very pleased for North Dakota women," said David Brown, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "We're glad that over 40 years of the Supreme Court's rulings protecting women's rights to decide for themselves are going to be protected and affirmed."

Stenehjem says he now considers it to be settled law.

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