North Dakota Will Vote On Personhood Amendment
After already passing the strictest abortion limit in the country, North Dakota lawmakers yesterday approved a measure that will see voters decide whether embryos are entitled to all the rights of citizens.
The so-called “personhood amendment” had already passed the Senate, and was approved by the House 57-35.
Voters will decide whether “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” The broad, vague language led even several anti-abortion Republican lawmakers to oppose the measure, saying it “stepped over the line.” Critics like Rep. Kathy Hawken have expressed concern that the law will prevent in vitro fertilization, not to mention some forms of birth control.
North Dakota recently banned abortions taking place as early as six weeks. The personhood measure would presumably ban the practice entirely, with no exceptions. (Although, if a pregnant woman is in imminent danger of death, could an abortion be performed in the name of self-defense?)
Just six years ago, North Dakota lawmakers (including most Republicans) overwhelming defeated a bill that would have criminalized abortion. This new proposed law seems to have the exact same effect, based on different wording and reasoning.
North Dakota is one of the staunchest anti-abortion states, but I haven’t found any particular poll data on how voters feel about the personhood amendment (I would appreciate any if you see it). The vote isn’t until November 2014, so North Dakotans have plenty of time to change their minds either way.
What do you think about the measure?