North Dakota has only one abortion clinic and has been rated the worst state in the country for women, but the State Senate passed two bills on Thursday will make it even more difficult for women in the state to access abortion care.
lawmakers passed a Personhood Constitutional Amendment initiative on
Thursday that would amend the state's constitution to give legal rights
and protections to human embryos. If the
ballot initiative passes the House, North Dakota voters will decide on
it during the 2014 elections.
"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," state Sen. Margaret Sitte
(R), the sponsor of the personhood initiative, told HuffPost.
The Senate also passed a bill on Thursday that could shut down the North
Dakota's one abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, by
requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local
hospital. A similar law in Mississippi is currently threatening to close
the only clinic in that state because the hospitals near the Jackson
clinic are all refusing the applications of doctors who perform
Sitte said that while the bill could effectively end
abortion in North Dakota, she supports the bill because it would
protect women who experience medical complications after the procedure.
"Yes, this bill could possibly close the abortion clinic [in Fargo],"
she said. "I'm not saying that's the intention of the law. The intention
of the law is to ensure that women have adequate health care and the
follow-up care that they need."
The State Senate rejected a
second personhood bill introduced by Sitte that would have made it
difficult for women to use in vitro fertilization. The bill would have
prohibited doctors from disposing of unused embryos after an in vitro
cycle, which would force families to pay hundreds of dollars each year
to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely. It would have also prevented
women with cancer or other illnesses from using a sperm or egg donor to
conceive through in vitro fertilization.
"It's like a bad
episode of the twilight zone," said Rania Batrice, communications
director the North Dakota Democratic Party. "These bills just open the
door for every other state in the country to interject themselves into
Sitte said she fully expects North
Dakotans to pass the personhood measure in 2014, which declares “the
inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of
development must be recognized and defended.”
"We know North Dakotans are pro-life," she said. "This just puts a statement of fact into the Constitution."
Sarah Stoesz, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota,
South Dakota, expressed her disappointment on Thursday with the Senate's
“Politicians in North Dakota are wasting taxpayer time
advancing what would no doubt become another divisive constitutional
amendment with dangerous unintended consequences for North Dakota
families," she said in a statement. "Planned Parenthood will continue to
fight these legislative attacks on women’s health in partnership with a
broad coalition of doctors, patients, teachers, lawyers and other
concerned North Dakotans who do not want to see politicians inserting
themselves into the private medical decision-making of women and
families in our state.”
Read more @ huffingtonpost.com
Posted: 02/07/2013 5:24 pm EST
Updated: 02/08/2013 4:27 am EST