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ND appeals federal judge's ruling on abortion ban

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota is appealing a federal judge's ruling that overturned a state law banning abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled last month that the law is "invalid and unconstitutional'' and that it "cannot withstand a constitutional challenge.''

The state filed its appeal Wednesday.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says Hovland's ruling was not unexpected. He says "the Legislature passed the law in hopes that a higher court would revisit the issue.''

The abortion clinic in Fargo filed a lawsuit in July against the measure that would ban abortions before many women know they're even pregnant.

More than 60 North Dakota lawmakers urged Stenehjem to appeal the federal judge's decision.