North Dakota State House Approves Personhood-Abortion Ban Legislation
by Steven Ertelt
February 18, 2009
Bismarck, ND (LifeNews.com) — The North Dakota state House on Tuesday approved a bill that declares unborn children as persons beginning at the point of fertilization, or conception. The bill could be used to challenge the Supreme’s Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade ruling and ban abortions.
Because the bill defines an unborn baby as a person, an abortion of an unborn child would be considered murder under state law.
The legislative chamber approved House Bill 1572 on a 51-41 vote and now the measure heads to the state Senate for consideration.
Republican Rep. Dan Ruby, who has also sponsored other pro-life bills this legislative session, is the main sponsor of the personhood bill. He says the measure fits in with what the Supreme Court said in Roe, namely that abortion would be illegal if the personhood of the unborn child could be asserted.
"This is the exact language that’s required by Roe vs. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that’s what this does," he said.
Still, he said that the measure doesn’t go as far as banning abortions in the same way a previous bill had or the two ballot measures neighboring South Dakota considered.
This language is not as aggressive as the direct ban legislation that Ive proposed in the past, Ruby said during the debate. This is very simply defining when life begins, and giving that life some protections under our Constitution the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Democrat Kari Conrad was one of the legislators to speak up against the bill and said it would put North Dakota in court if passed because abortion advocates would challenge its constitutionality.
"People who presented this bill were very clear that they intended to challenge Roe versus Wade. So they intend to put the state of North Dakota into court defending Roe vs. Wade," she said.
The legislation says: "For purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens."
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