North Dakota Republicans have been pushing multiple anti-abortion measures this year, the most dangerous of which is a personhood measure that would ban abortion entirely. That bill has now passed the legislature.
SB 2303, declares that life begins at conception and would add such language to the North Dakota Constitution if voters approve the ballot measure in November 2014. If this happens, abortions would be banned entirely in the state and the last remaining abortion clinic serving the area would be shut down. The measure also cruelly denies abortion to women who become pregnant through rape or incest and bans some forms of contraception and could end in vitro fertilization.
Opponents of the bill include the North Dakota Medical Association and 26 students from the University of North Dakota medical school. Infertility specialist Dr. Stephanie Dahl told the Bismarck Tribune earlier this week that doctors would face criminal charges because of the bill and women who become pregnant via rape would be forced to carry the pregnancy to term. Dr. Ted Kleiman, a Fargo pediatrician, says the bill is “abhorrent in the highest degree,” and would set medicine in North Dakota back “to the stone age.” Some pro-life Republicans even oppose the measure because of how extreme it is. North Dakota GOP Rep. Kathy Hawken called the measure “the most invasive attack on women’s health anywhere.”
North Dakota may not be the only state with a personhood measure on the ballot in 2014. Personhood USA is pushing to place yet another personhood measure on the ballot in Mississippi, where personhood failed in 2010 by a large margin. Arkansas Republicans are also considering passing a personhood measure.
Women are clearly under attack this year by Republicans and anti-abortion fanatics and 2014 is being set up as a year in which women may lose the right to choose entirely. It may be too early to talk about the 2014 Election, but the only way to protect women is if the people show up to the polls to defeat this horrible assault on women reproductive rights.