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ND bills could make abortion rules strictest in US

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March 15, 2013 10:53 AM EST | AP


BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Senate is considering a pair of bills that could make the state's abortion laws the most restrictive in the country.

One bill would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

A second bill would prevent women from having abortions based on gender selection or a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.

The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote on both bills Friday, sending them to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who has indicated he would sign them.

Arkansas last week adopted a similar fetal-heartbeat bill at 12 weeks.

Abortion-rights advocates say a costly legal battle is certain if the North Dakota measures become law.