BISMARCK, N.D. —
The American Civil Liberties Union called the measures "extreme," saying they would make North Dakota "the first state in the nation to ban most abortions."
"In America, no woman, no matter where she lives, should be denied the ability to make this deeply personal decision," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement.
Arkansas passed a 12-week ban earlier this month that prohibits most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected using an abdominal ultrasound. That ban is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the Arkansas Legislature adjourns.
A fetal heartbeat can generally be detected earlier in a pregnancy using a vaginal ultrasound, but Arkansas lawmakers balked at requiring women seeking abortions to have the more invasive imaging technique.
North Dakota's measure doesn't specify how a fetal heartbeat would be detected. Doctors performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could face a felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Women having an abortion would not face charges.
While some abortion opponents welcomed Arkansas' new law as a bold challenge to Roe v. Wade, others favor more incremental strategies, fearing such bans could lead to emphatic rejections in court.
A similar fetal heartbeat bill was debated by Ohio lawmakers last year before being blocked by the Senate president. The measure, which could be revived this year, fractured Ohio's anti-abortion movement in a debate over its tactical effectiveness.
Grande told lawmakers that fears about a legal challenge shouldn't prevent them from approving the North Dakota measure.
"Whether this is challenged in court is entirely up to the abortion industry," Grande told lawmakers this week. "Given the lucrative nature of abortion, it is likely that any statute that reduces the number of customers will be challenged by the industry."