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National Digest: N.D. limits abortions; Ind. upholds school voucher program

North Dakota
Governor signs bills restricting abortions

Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) signed legislation Tuesday that would make North Dakota the nation’s most restrictive state on abortion rights, banning the procedure if a fetal heartbeat can be detected — something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The governor also signed into law another measure that would make North Dakota the first state to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome and a measure that requires a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

The measures, which take effect Aug. 1, are fueled in part by an attempt to close the state’s sole abortion clinic, in Fargo. Dalrymple, in a statement, said the so-called fetal heartbeat bill is a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

— Associated Press

Indiana
School vouchers give choice, court rules

The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the law creating the nation’s broadest school voucher program, clearing the way for a possible expansion.

In a unanimous vote, the five justices rejected claims that the law primarily benefited religious institutions that run private schools and accepted arguments that it gave families choice and allowed parents to determine where the money went.

The court noted that while the Indiana Constitution does not allow direct spending on religious institutions, it does not prohibit those institutions from receiving indirect government services.

Middle-class families are permitted to participate in Indiana’s voucher program, while in most states such programs are limited to low-income families or those with children in failing schools.

— Associated Press

Suspect had bomb materials: The suspect in the killing of the Colorado prisons chief had bomb making materials and instructions for building explosives in his car, Texas authorities said in court papers released Tuesday. Evan Spencer Ebel, a 28-year-old parolee, was killed in a gun battle with Texas police last week.

Dragon returns: The SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Tuesday with a full science load from the international space station. The privately owned cargo ship splashed down in the ­Pacific right on target, 250 miles off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, five hours after leaving the orbiting lab.

— From news services

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