Target: North Dakota Legislature
Goal: Protest initiative that would grant legal rights and protections to human embryos in North Dakota
North Dakota’s Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative, a bill that aims to grant legal rights and protections to human embryos by amending the state constitution, passed the State Senate on Thursday, February 7th, 2013. Republican Senator Margaret Sitte, the sponsor of the personhood initiative, intends the bill as a direct counter to Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that labeled restrictive state regulations of abortion unconstitutional.
Senator Margaret Sitte fully expects the Personhood Amendment to pass in North Dakota. The Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative states that “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and defended.” The measure could effectively end abortion in North Dakota, especially alongside another anti-abortion bill passed by North Dakota’s State Senate on Thursday, which intends to “protect women who experience medical complications after [abortions].” The bill would basically regulate North Dakota’s single abortion clinic into non-existence by requiring abortion physicians to have the privilege to admit patients to local hospitals, to ensure that women have, according to Sitte, “adequate health care and the follow-up care that they need.”
While Senator Sitte insists that the Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative and North Dakota’s other anti-abortion bills do not “intend” to regulate abortion in any way, the bill’s prerequisites and prohibitions would make it next to impossible for women to access abortion care in North Dakota. North Dakota, like many other U.S. States, is currently spending valuable taxpayer time and money pressing for a bill that would strip women of their basic bodily rights. Recent research shows that a lack of access to abortion facilities leads to a rise in maternal fatalities, while risk of maternal death due to abortion is lower than the risk of death due to childbirth.
Whatever the consequences, the government of North Dakota is attempting to advance laws and statutes that attempt to control women and their bodies. Measures such as the Personhood Initiative grant embryos and fetuses rights; such privileges, however, come at the cost of the rights of women. The decision to have or not to have a child should lie with women alone. Sign the petition below to protest North Dakota’s bill and to ensure that it does not progress any further.
Dear North Dakotan Legislators,
On Thursday, February 7th, 2013, the North Dakota State Senate passed the Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative, a measure that intends to grant legal rights and protections to human embryos by amending the state constitution. Although such amendments and regulations have already been deemed unconstitutional by Roe vs. Wade (1973), the North Dakotan Legislature has seen fit to allow this bill to advance without question.
The inalienable rights the Personhood Constitutional Amendment Initiative aims to give human embryos should never override the inalienable rights of the women who bear those embryos. By granting protective rights to embryos women are reduced to mere chattel, forced to carry and birth children without their full consent. A women’s right to her body is undeniable, and as such, it must be a woman’s choice to have or not have a child. Laws cannot be passed to regulate a woman’s use of her body. I am very disappointed by the Personhood Initiative and all that it entails and demand this bill be stopped before it can progress any further.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: janineomg @ Flickr.