ND lawmakers define life as starting at conception, in bid to outlaw abortions

by
March 23, 2013

North Dakota didn’t set out to become the abortion debate’s new epicenter.

It happened by accident, after a legislative caucus that once vetted abortion bills languished, leaving lawmakers to propose a flurry of measures — some cribbed from Wikipedia — without roadblocks.

Long dismissed as cold and inconsequential, North Dakota is now trying to enact the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation. The newly oil-rich red state may soon find itself in a costly battle over legislation foes describe as blatantly unconstitutional.

Lawmakers on Friday took a step toward outlawing abortion altogether in the state by passing a so-called personhood resolution that says a fertilized egg has the same right to life as a person. The House’s approval sends the matter to voters, who will decide whether to add the wording to the state’s constitution in November 2014.

It’s one of several anti-abortion measures to pass the Legislature. Most are awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who hasn’t yet indicated whether he supports the laws. Even if he were to veto them, some could have the support for the Legislature to override him.

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