UPDATE: North Dakota decides to ask voters to pass extreme ‘personhood’ anti-abortion law

By Emily Mullen
Friday, March 22, 2013 17:15 EDT
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North Dakota lawmakers passed a resolution calling for voters to decide on a “personhood” abortion ban Friday afternoon, which would bestow human rights on fertilized eggs on a par with all the rights of U.S. citizens and effectively outlaw abortion and some forms of birth control, according to ThinkProgress.org.

The measure, which passed the state Senate last month, passed the House with a 57-35 vote and will be in the hands of voters come the November 2014 election. The so-called personhood ban is one of a series of anti-abortion resolutions the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed this year despite critics’ insistence that they are unconstitutional and violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized all abortions but allowed states to enact restrictions after a fetus is considered viable, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The new law could have extreme consequences that reach much further than abortion care, such as charging doctors who damage embryos with criminal negligence and potentially preventing them from performing in vitro fertilization. Some doctors throughout the state have already threatened to leave if the ban is signed into law.

It’s so extreme that some North Dakota Republican pro-lifers are against it and are planning to join a pro-choice rally in the state capital on Monday to oppose the far-right abortion restriction. “We have stepped over the line,” Republican state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) said of the recent push to pass personhood. “North Dakota hasn’t even passed a primary seatbelt law, but we have the most invasive attack on women’s health anywhere.”

Efforts to pass similar measures in other states have failed. In Nov. 2011, Mississippi voters turned down the state’s “Constitutional Initiative 26,” their version of the personhood that would have added an amendment to the state constitution seeking to define life “to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof.”

The same ban has failed in Colorado three times.

[Photo of angry woman via Shutterstock.com]

[Ed note: Due to erroneous reports out of North Dakota, this article first stated that state lawmakers had passed a personhood law themselves.]

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