BISMARCK, North Dakota, February 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A strong majority of lawmakers in the North Dakota House of Representatives on Friday afternoon passed a law that would make it illegal to murder any human being from the moment of their conception.
The Defense of Human Life Act, HB 1450, recognizes every human being at any stage of development as a person under state law with a right to protection.
“The overwhelming community and legislative support for HB 1450 proves that North Dakota could be the first state to recognize the value and dignity of every living human being,” stated Representative Dan Ruby. “The Defense of Human Life Act is just common sense. Of course every human being is a person, and every innocent person should receive legal protection. I am motivated to see women and children protected by HB 1450, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate in the near future.”
While the bill prohibits chemical abortifiacients such as RU-486, it does not apply to emergency contraception, or other “contraception administered before a clinically diagnosable pregnancy.” The bill also exempts legitimate medical procedures that may lead to the death of children in the womb when a woman’s life is in danger. The bill also exempts pregnant women seeking abortions from criminal prosecution.
The bill, supported by ND Right to Life, ND Life League, ND Family Alliance, ND CWFA, and the ND Catholic Conference, passed 68-25 in Friday’s vote.
Daniel Woodard, a legal consultant for North Dakota Right to Life and the North Dakota Life League, told LifeSiteNews.com that the bill would put the one remaining abortion clinic in the state out of business. “This bill should shut down that clinic,” said Woodard.
While the bill also bans the killing of frozen embryos produced by in-vitro fertilization, Woodard said, it would leave the implementation of new regulations to the medical community. “In North Dakota, the legislature has confidence in its medical professional groups to regulate itself,” he said.
While pro-lifers are optimistic about the bill’s survival in the Senate, Woodard said that supporters would “be taking no chances” and continue to lobby for its passage. A vote in the Senate is expected around March 10.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has not stated whether or not he plans to sign the bill.