The North Dakota legislature has been very hard at work passing every extreme anti-abortion measure you’ve ever heard of and now, they’ve finally made it to the coup d’etat: Personhood. That’s right, according to both the House and State Senate of North Dakota, life begins at conception. All they need is for Republican Governor Jack Dalrympl to sign it, and the state would have unprecedented anti-choice laws on the books.
Just so you understand exactly how much time and energy has gone into restricting reproductive rights in North Dakota, let’s lay out all of the bills they’ve recently passed on the matter. Legislators have voted to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks on the medically-flawed premise that a fetus can feel pain after this threshold. They approved legislation, like that in Mississippi, demanding that a doctor performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Before the 20 week ban, they passed a 6 week ban, on the grounds of ending abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. They also outlawed abortion on the basis of genetic abnormalities or defects.
They did all this before passing Personhood. The anti-choice bills are just piling up on Governor Dalrympl’s desk.
And make no mistake about it, legislating that life begins at conception is anti-choice. It doesn’t just strip away a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, a right that is still supposed to be federally protected in this country, it strips away a woman’s right to get pregnant through fertility treatments like IVF. It strips away a woman’s choices when it comes to birth control.
In some severe and extreme cases, Personhood could lead to serious medical care issues for pregnant women. If a fetus has all the rights of the woman carrying it, how can a doctor terminate that pregnancy, even when the woman’s life is at risk?
There’s a reason why Personhood couldn’t gain approval in one of the most conservative states of the country like Mississippi. It is beyond extreme. It takes control of a woman’s reproductive health away from her.
North Dakota isn’t the only state to seriously challenge Roe v. Wade this year. But it has shown that it is the most committed to restricting women’s freedom. And if Governor Dalrympl signs these bills into law, he had better be prepared for one hell of a fight.