Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota signed a near-total abortion ban bill into law Monday.
Senate Bill 2150, which passed in the state’s legislature last week, defines abortion as “the act of using, selling, or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman.”
The law is one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the US and only allows exceptions for rape or incest within the first six weeks of pregnancy.
Exceptions are permitted in the case that the procedure is “deemed necessary based on reasonable medical judgment which was intended to prevent the death or a serious health risk to the pregnant female.”
Efforts to treat an ectopic or molar pregnancy would also be permissible at any stage of pregnancy under the law.
Abortion rights activists have furiously objected to similar bans, saying most women do not know they are pregnant at six weeks.
The bill joins other GOP-led legislation aimed at restricting abortion access that has become law in a post-Roe v. Wade world. Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Texas have also passed six-week abortion bans, sparking legal challenges.
North Dakota’s new law follows a legal battle over a 2007 trigger law that was blocked by a district judge last year.
The state’s Supreme Court upheld that ruling in March.
The trigger abortion ban was set to take effect last August and would have made it a felony to perform an abortion in the state but it did allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
With the trigger ban on pause, North Dakota law had allowed abortion up until 20 weeks or more post-fertilization.
In a statement to CNN, Burgum said SB 2150 “clarifies and refines existing state law which was triggered into effect by the Dobbs decision and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state.”
Physicians who violate the new law could be charged with a felony. In addition, an abortion can’t be performed until a woman is offered the opportunity to see an “active ultrasound” at least 24 hours before the scheduled procedure.
Any physician who fails to comply could face a misdemeanor charge.
Last week, Burgum signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for most minors with the possibility of a felony for health care professionals who provide it.