Bismarck, North Dakota – Senators in North Dakota passed three pro-life measures today in an effort to ban abortion in the state.
Among the bills being considered was an initiative to place the personhood of the unborn on the 2014 ballot. Senate Bill 4009 declares that “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” Senate Bill 2303 was also approved, which “ensures that the protection that our criminal laws afford to victims of crimes extends to all human beings born and unborn.”
Sponsor Margaret Sitte, a Republican, candidly admitted that the state was standing up against the Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion.
“This amendment is intended to present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade,” she said. “By passage of this amendment, the people of North Dakota are asking [the] government to recognize what science already defined.”
In addition to the two personhood bills, the Senate also passed an ordinance that would require abortionists in the state to obtain hospital admitting privileges should a woman become injured during an abortion. A similar bill was passed last year in Mississippi, which, as previously reported, has effectively been used to close down the last abortion facility in the state. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi received a closure notice last month after it was unable to comply with the law as it could not find a hospital that wished to grant admitting privileges.
North Dakota likewise has one remaining abortion facility left — Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo.
“North Dakota is leading the way for equal rights and protections for all human beings,” stated Jennifer Mason of Personhood USA. “After the struggles to pass life-affirming amendments in the Senate in the past four years, we are very pleased that the North Dakota Senate has chosen to protect all living human beings. This is a historic day in North Dakota.”
“Abortion laws are archaic, based on 40-year-old science and technology,” she added. “Our understanding of pregnancy and human development since Roe v. Wade has changed dramatically. There is no question now that the unborn child is a human being and a person, who has a right to legal recognition and protection.”
While many pro-life groups are cheering the vote, a few others are expressing concern about what would happen if the bills become law and are challenged in the courts. They fear that it may pave the way for further case law that asserts the “right” to abortion. However, North Dakota’s senators seem ready for the fight.
“We are intending that it be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, since Scalia said that the Supreme Court is waiting for states to raise a case,” Sitte again asserted to reporters.
The bills will now head to the North Dakota House of Representatives, which is likely to approve the measures. There are no exceptions in any of the bills pertaining to rape, incest or the life of the mother.