North Dakota Inching Ever Closer to Being First State to Enact Personhood Abortion Law

The North Dakota House passed a bill this afternoon that would define life as beginning at conception, effectively moving one step closer to banning all abortion in the state without exception for rape or incest. Approved by the state Senate last month, the bill will now go to voters as a ballot initiative. This latest restrictive measure comes only a week after North Dakota legislators approved bills that would ban abortion beyond six weeks into pregnancy and ban abortion in the case of genetic abnormality, like Downs Syndrome.

While calling a goddamn zygote a person is already insane enough on its face, medical practitioners in North Dakota are further worried about what a personhood law could mean for basic OB/GYN care outside of abortion (which is also a basic OB/GYN procedure). Earlier this week, the North Dakota Medical Association came out against personhood laws, with doctors saying the potential for legal entanglements will be maddening when dealing with things like in vitro fertilization:

"These bills will stop the practice of in vitro fertilization in this state," said Dr. Stephanie Dahl, an obstetrician-gynecologist and reproductive medicine specialist in Fargo.

Although certain preparatory services still would be available, patients would have to travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., or Minneapolis for the actual treatments, which require multiple sonograms and eight to 12 visits over a period of six weeks, she said.

Dr. Steffen Christensen, who established the in vitro fertilization clinic in Fargo 19 years ago, also said the service to help couples have children would be shut down.

"The concern is this is criminal negligence if anything should happen to an embryo," he said.

Earlier this month, legislators in Arkansas passed a ban on abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, overriding Governor Mike Beebe, who had vetoed the bill.

[Image via AP]