North Dakota Personhood Bill Defeated in Senate, Informed Consent and Ultrasound Bills Pass

Mon Apr 6, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

BISMARCK, North Dakota, April 6, 2009 ( - On Friday the North Dakota Senate voted down a bill that would have granted personhood status to human beings from the moment of conception, but passed two informed consent bills with strong support.

Senate lawmakers voted down the personhood bill by a 29-16 margin after it had passed the state House in mid-February.  House Bill 1572 would have defined a "person" in law as including "a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens," and thus afforded unborn children full legal protection.

Four days before the Senate hearing on the bill, North Dakota’s two Catholic Bishops, Paul Zipfel of Bismarck and Samuel Aquila of Fargo, called a news conference to announce that they would not support the current form of the bill.  According to reports, the amendments offered by the bishops were sweeping - striking every word of the original bill - and the bishops had not contacted the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Ruby, prior to the press conference. 

Personhood legislation has been introduced in a handful of states around the country, including Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.  Other states, such as Oregon and Mississippi, aim to introduce personhood language through a constitutional amendment.

The same day North Dakota senators turned down the state’s personhood bid, the Senate voted in favor of two other pro-life bills that had passed the House.

A bill requiring abortion providers to inform a patient that "the abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique living human being," passed 34-11. 

Another bill, requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and give mothers the option to view the ultrasound image of their unborn child, passed by a 44-1 margin.

In addition, the Senate passed a resolution urging U.S. Congress to strike down the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would nullify all state and federal abortion regulations, according to the Christian Post.

See related coverage:

North Dakota House Passes Personhood Bill Tuesday

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives

Share this article