A federal appeals court has ruled that North Dakota's strict abortion laws—some of the most restrictive in the country—are illegal.
In 2013, state lawmakers passed a law that prohibited abortions after a heartbeat was detected in the fetus—approximately six weeks into a pregnancy. Multiple attempts have been made to overturn the ban, and earlier today, a federal appeals court ruled the law unconstitutional.
"Today's decision reaffirms that the U.S. Constitution protects women from the legislative attacks of politicians who would deny them their right to safely and legally end a pregnancy," Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple originally signed the bill into law in what he called "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade."
Currently, the state has only one abortion clinic that has survived the state's attempts to outlaw abortions.