Democrat gubernatorial candidate: I’m pro-life but I regret voting for North Dakota’s heartbeat bill

The new candidate claims he is 'pro-life but recognizes the Bible and Constitution are at odds.'
Tue Mar 22, 2016 - 12:01 pm EST
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North Dakota state Rep. Marvin Nelson (D).

BISMARCK, North Dakota, March 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The North Dakota Democrat legislator running for governor said it was a mistake to vote for legislation recognizing the heartbeat of the state's unborn children, yet he maintains that he is pro-life.

Representative Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) announced his candidacy March 16, at the same time renouncing his 2013 vote for North Dakota's fetal heartbeat bill, which banned abortion once a heartbeat can be detected in the pre-born child.

In a speech where he called for a "less discriminatory" state "that is for all North Dakotans," according to the local NBC affiliate KFYR, the Democrat gubernatorial candidate also said, "he's pro-life but recognizes the Bible and Constitution are at odds."

"At the time we were voting on it, the heartbeat was really something that hadn't been settled in law," Nelson stated. "Looking back at it, I really do see my vote as a mistake. It didn't change anything. All it did was spend money that we don't have."

Considered the nation's most protective pro-life legislation, the law banned abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. A U.S. district judge halted it in July 2013, after Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple had signed the law in March of that year.

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The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck it down last July, and the state later appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the appeals court ruling. 

The heartbeat bill was one of several pieces of pro-life legislation passed by North Dakota in 2013, gaining the state positive out-of-state attention from pro-life groups.

Nelson said in a Prairie Public News report that "he hopes those groups will leave North Dakota alone for a while."

At least one organization that advocates on behalf of life took issue with the Democrat candidate's assertion that he is pro-life.

Tom Freier of North Dakota Family Alliance pointed to Nelson's record on the Alliance's Legislative Session Scorecard.

"Nelson voted with us on three of six life bills in 2013," Freier told LifeSiteNews. "He voted for the heartbeat bill and against the pain bill? We would not label him as pro-life."

  abortion, heartbeat bill, north dakota

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