North Dakota moving to ban all abortions with "personhood" bills

Move over Mississippi, eat your heart out Arkansas -- there is no state legislature more anti-abortion than North Dakota's.
Move over Mississippi, eat your heart out Arkansas -- there is no state legislature more anti-abortion than North Dakota's.
Image by Tatiana Craine

North Dakota is establishing itself as the most anti-abortion state in the nation with "personhood" bills that are working their way through the GOP-dominated Legislature.

SEE ALSO: North Dakota Capitol reporters repeatedly warned about wearing revealing clothing

If either of the measures are ultimately signed into law, North Dakota state law would clearly come into contradiction with federal law, which would likely set up a legal showdown over the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The AP details the latest anti-abortion measures under consideration up in NoDak:

North Dakota lawmakers who approved what would be some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. are now considering outlawing all abortions.

The "personhood" measures would ban abortions by defining human life as beginning with conception. It's drawing opposition from some doctors who say it could cause problems for infertile couples seeking to use in vitro fertilization to conceive, but supporters insist that's addressed in the legislation.

The state Senate passed two personhood measures last month, and the House could vote as soon as Tuesday. One of the bills would make the proposal a state law and another is a resolution that would put the definition into the state constitution, if passed by voters.

News of the "personhood" measures comes just a day after the North Dakota Legislature approved the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country. From Politico:

The North Dakota Legislature has approved a bill that would ban abortions at approximately six weeks. That would be the earliest abortion ban in the nation and likely set up a clash with the Supreme Court's long-established Roe v. Wade precedent.

The bill, passed by the state Senate on Friday after passage in the House last month, is one of a half-dozen strict anti-abortion bills the Legislature is considering this session. It would ban most abortions after a heartbeat is detected -- which is typically six weeks to seven weeks into a pregnancy -- with an exception for the health or the life of the mother...

The state Senate also passed a bill prohibiting sex-selective abortions and abortions based on a diagnosis of genetic abnormality. Both bills now go to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature or veto. He has three legislative days to consider them, and if he gives the OK, they'll go into effect Aug. 1.

Republican state Rep. Bette Grande, the bills' sponsor, said she feels confident Dalrymple -- also a Republican -- will sign both.

Regarding the personhood measures, Dr. Steffen Christensen, founder of Fargo's in vitro fertilization clinic, said the bills would force him to shut down.

"The concern is this is criminal negligence if anything should happen to an embryo," Christensen told Forum Communications.

Others are appalled that the measures would force women who are raped and become pregnant to carry the child to term.

But state Sen. Margaret Sitte, R-Bismarck, argues that children resulting from rape shouldn't be punished for crimes they didn't commit.

"Rape is a horrible crime. It is absolutely devastating," Sitte told the AP. "But do we believe in capital punishment for those children?"

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