On Friday, North Dakota became the first state to pass a personhood amendment granting legal personhood rights to embryos from the moment of fertilization. The measure passed the state House of Representatives on a vote of 57 to 35. The measure previously passed the North Dakota Senate in February.
The amendment will now go to the North Dakota voters to accept or reject in the November, 2014 elections.
If the measure passed, it will amend the North Dakota constitution to read, “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
Republican Senator Margaret Sitte, the sponsor of the initiative said, “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.”
Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance said “We applaud North Dakota for defending life. The bills in North Dakota protect the lives of the most innocent Americans, those without a voice, in the womb. Hopefully, these bills will start a national discussion about what life is and our duty as a civil society to protect it. It starts in the states.”
Previous bills passed in North Dakota include a ban on abortion based on gender and genetic abnormality and a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Similar measures have thus far failed in other states. Missisippi voters turned down the states “Constitutional Initiative 26,” their version of the personhood amendment in November, 2011. A similar measure has three times in Colorado.
Personhood USA released this statement:
North Dakota passes first state personhood amendment in US history
Bismarck, ND – 03/22/13 – Today, the North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35.
SCR 4009 states, “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
Every major prolife organization in North Dakota has joined forces to defend and endorse SCR 4009, including North Dakota Family Alliance, North Dakota Right to Life, Concerned Women for America North Dakota, North Dakota Life League, North Dakota Catholic Conference, and Personhood North Dakota.
For the first time in United States history, a legislative body has approved a personhood amendment in both the House and the Senate. Now the amendment will be referred to the people of North Dakota for a vote.
SCR 4009 was written as to ensure that mother and baby are both treated as medical patients, that medical care is not inhibited, and that fertility treatments are not banned.
“The North Dakota legislature has taken historic strides to protect every human being in the state, paving the way for human rights nationwide,” affirmed Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “This amendment strikes the balance of accomplishing more for the unborn than any other amendment the nation has ever seen, while protecting pregnant women and their right to true medical care. We applaud the North Dakota House and Senate for their willingness to protect all of the people in their state.”
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D., legal analyst for Personhood USA, continued: “The North Dakota personhood amendment takes the pro-life plank of the GOP platform and it into practice. Furthermore, it allows the legislature the needed flexibility to implement the specific protections of the right to life through future legislation.”