North Dakota lawmakers are considering banning all abortions with proposed “personhood” bills, which would ban abortions by defining human life as "beginning with conception."
The North Dakota State Senate passed two personhood bills last month and the House could vote soon, reports the Associated Press.
One of the bills would make the abortion ban a state law and the other would put the definition of life into the state constitution, if passed by voters.
“This is something that would affect the patient and doctor relationship,” Dr. Stephanie Dahl, a Fargo infertility specialist, said at a news conference with a group of doctors who oppose the measures. “A woman who has been sexually assaulted will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, regardless of the nature of her assault."
“Rape is a horrible crime. It is absolutely devastating,” North Dakota State Sen. Margaret Sitte countered. “But do we believe in capital punishment for those children?”
Opponents also say the bills could end the process of in vitro fertilization.
“The concern is that this is criminal negligence if anything should happen to an embryo,” said Dr. Steffen Christensen, who founded an in vitro fertilization clinic in Fargo, North Dakota, 19 years ago.
The North Dakota Medical Association is against the bill and 26 students from the University of North Dakota medical school signed a letter against it, reports the Washington Post.
Dr. Ted Kleiman said the proposed laws would send North Dakota back to “the stone age” of medicine.