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North Dakota tallies $159K defending abortion law

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Records show that North Dakota has spent nearly $159,000 defending a 2011 state law that seeks to limit the use of drugs to terminate pregnancies.

Billing data obtained by The Associated Press show that the money has gone to pay for legal fees, travel and expert witnesses.

A district court judge ruled in July that law is unconstitutional and has called the legislation “simply wrongheaded.” The North Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case this week.

In addition to the costs of the 2011 litigation, North Dakota lawmakers this year allocated $400,000 that was requested by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to defend against any lawsuits that arise from new state laws passed this year, including legislation that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected.