ND lawmakers mull heartbeat abortion bill

A North Dakota House committee is considering a bill that would ban abortions in the state if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Medical experts say a so-called fetal tone can be detected as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy. Abortion rights advocates say the measure would ban abortion before some women know they are pregnant.

Several Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate have introduced bills this session that would impose more stringent restrictions on abortions in North Dakota. Measures include defining a "person" as a fertilized human egg, and requiring a doctor performing abortions to be an OB-GYN with hospital admitting privileges.

The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo is North Dakota's sole abortion provider. Director Tammi Kromenaker says the measures are aimed at shuttering the clinic.