The slogan for North Dakota is “legendary.” This one-word motto refers generally to Lewis & Clark, Theodore Roosevelt, and other adventurers who bravely traversed the picturesque Badlands located in the southwestern part of the state.

Those who stand for life now recognize North Dakotans as legendary for another reason. Last week, blazing a trail through the badlands of Roe v. Wade, North Dakota’s elected leaders passed a series of common-sense laws regulating the practice of abortion in that state.

As part of the most comprehensive legislation geared toward the protection of life in the country, one of the newly-enacted laws bars abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Much like the other laws passed in North Dakota – prohibiting abortions premised on gender selection or genetic defects and requiring physicians who commit abortions to have hospital privileges – the heartbeat law reflects the state’s profound interest in the life of the unborn child as well as the welfare of the mother.

There is no surer sign of life than a heartbeat.

Unsurprisingly, this law about heartbeat is causing heartburn among those in the pro-abortion lobby. Since modern technology can pick up a heartbeat as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – not long after many mothers learn of the news – the abortion industry in North Dakota will be taking a huge hit.

This monumental legislative effort reflects an earnest attempt to protect state interests while navigating through the constitutional markings set by the U.S. Supreme Court. Like North Dakota Governor Dalrymple explained, “Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.”

State laws have long proven to be effective means for guarding life. A detailed analysis of pro-life state laws by State Politics and Policy Quarterly reveals a direct link between a 22% decline in abortions in the U.S. between 1990 and 2005 and increasing legislature restricting abortion on the state level. This new sea-change law – stopping all abortions after recognition of heartbeat – will ensure the safety of many more lives.

Following North Dakota’s trail, there are bills pending in Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Wyoming that would all protect children found to have a heartbeat.

The tide is definitely turning against the abortion-on-demand mindset that was once prevalent in our country. While laws representing this movement – like North Dakota’s heartbeat law – are sure to be challenged in the courts, we need not fret about it.

Roe v. Wade is a poorly-reasoned, ill-founded ruling that begs to be overturned. And North Dakota’s heartbeat law could be the vehicle that obliges the Supreme Court to reconsider the case and the implications of it. If so, the High Court, like North Dakota, just might do something legendary.

Posted by Nate Kellum