March 26, 2013
Professor Caitlin Borgmann spoke to the New York Times about the abortion law just enacted in North Dakota. The new law, which is now one of the strictest in the nation, forbids abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy using a transvaginal ultrasound. A similar law was recently passed in Arkansas. Legal scholars argue the North Dakota law would violate the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that abortions were permitted until the fetus was viable outside the womb.
“There are two clashing forces in the anti-abortion movement now,” said Borgmann. “The incrementalists are chipping away at Roe and the others are getting impatient.” With passage of heartbeat laws in Arkansas and North Dakota, “this extreme wing of the movement has definitely gained momentum,” Borgmann continues. “But it can only go so far because they can’t win in the courts.”
Professor Borgmann has litigated reproductive rights cases and has also spoken and written widely about reproductive rights and given testimony before several state legislatures on this issue. She is the editor of the Reproductive Rights Blog.