April 03, 2009

North Dakota Senate defeats 'personhood' bill

North Dakota Roman Catholic Bishops help defeat bill


Senate defeats 'personhood' bill

Apr 03, 2009 - 15:11:56 CDT
By Brian Duggan

[emphasis added]

A bill that would have given personhood status to a fertilized human egg was defeated by the Senate 29-16 today.

Sen. Curtis Olafson, R-Edinburg, said lawmakers should oppose the legislation because of its sweeping and detrimental legal consequences it could bring.

He said the bill could tie the hands of doctors and mothers trying to treat abnormal pregnancies or cancers because the fertilized embryo would have full legal rights if the bill were to pass.

"This raises many undesirable consequences involving criminal law, civil law and matters completely unrelated to protecting human life," Olafson said.

No senator stood to support the bill.

Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, introduced the legislation with the hopes that it would be a direct challenge to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Roe v. Wade.

The House passed the bill 51-41 in February.


North Dakota Catholic Bishops Opt to Preserve Roe v. Wade

April 2, 2009
by Robert L. Hale

[excerpt, emphasis added]

MINOT, N.D.- Rep. Dan Ruby (R-Minot, N.D.) introduced a bill (HB 1572) in the North Dakota House of Representatives that defined "individual, person, or human being" as "any organism with the genome of homo sapiens." The intent of the bill was to clarify personhood under the state constitution. The bill was passed by the House and moved to the Senate.

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 they could not support the bill as written. They offered amendments that gutted the bill in its entirety -- striking every word of the original bill, including the operative word "person."

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