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Politics & Government

Nelson: I 'made a mistake' in voting for the 'fetal heartbeat' abortion restriction bill

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The announced Democratic candidate for Governor says he made a mistake when, as a member of the North Dakota Legislature, he voted for one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the nation.

It was called the “fetal heartbeat” bill – and it would have banned abortions when a fetal heartbeat w as detected – as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.  Federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court passed on hearing an appeal.

Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) says he’s “pro-life.” He voted for it – because he says the Constitution is silent about when life begins.

"At the time we were voting on it, the heartbeat was really something that hadn't been settled in law," Nelson said. "Looking back at it, I really do see my vote as a mistake. It didn't change anything. All it did was spend money that we don't have."

The bill was one of a package of abortion control bills passed in the 2013 session. Many were being touted by out-of-state anti-abortion groups. Nelson says he hopes those groups will leave North Dakota alone for a while.

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