N.D. Lawmakers Define Start of Life as Beginning at Conception, Outlaw Abortion

Michael Winter
USA Today

North Dakota lawmakers Friday completed action to outlaw almost all abortions, voting to define life as beginning at conception.

The Republican-dominated House also approved a so-called personhood amendment that asks voters to change the state’s constitution to recognize and protect “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development.” Besides conferring human rights on fertilized eggs and outlawing abortion, the proposition, which will be on the November 2014 ballot, could potentially affect end-of-life decisions for adults.

A third piece of legislation passed Friday by the House requires abortion clinic physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The legislation is aimed at shutting down the state’s only abortion clinic, in Fargo.

The House narrowly defeated a fourth Senate-passed abortion bill, which would have defined a human being “as an individual member of the species homo sapiens at every stage of development.” It would have also prohibited the intentional destruction of healthy embryos, a move to block embryonic stem cell research.

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