‘Personhood’ bill lays an egg in North Dakota Senate

Out-of-state anti-abortion activists who rallied behind Colorado’s Amendment 48 last year came up with another big goose egg Friday when the North Dakota Senate rejected a “personhood” bill that sought to confer constitutional rights to zygotes.

But reproductive rights advocates aren’t cheering Roughrider State lawmakers just yet.

Senators voted 29-16, without debate, to kill the anti-abortion bill which passed the North Dakota House Feb. 17.

Opponents counter that contraception, in-vitro fertilization and stem-cell research would be threatened, and miscarriages could be prosecuted if legal recognition of fertilized eggs were upheld.

The controversial bill was backed by Personhood USA, which dubs itself “missionaries to the preborn.” The duo behind the nascent national movement to push due-process rights for fertilized eggs got their start carpetbagging in Colorado on the Amendment 48 campaign.

Keith Mason, from Wichita, Kan., and Cal Zastrow of Kawkawlin, Mich., have turned anti-abortion activism into a personal cottage industry providing one more example of how Colorado’s broken ballot system has become an incubator for ideologically-driven political causes.

Though the measure failed miserably by a 3-to-1 margin, the group is taking its lessons learned on the road. Thus far, Personhood USA has been thwarted in Montana and now North Dakota, which has been ground zero for anti-abortion activism.

Meanwhile, the state lawmakers in Bismark approved two anti-abortion bills that also attempt to advance the personification of fetuses to send to Republican Gov. John Hoeven that are quite likely to be challenged in court, each for their own stark Fourth Amendment violation against unreasonable search and seizures, notwithstanding the thorny ethical dilemma.

One proposed law requires abortion clinics to offer a fetal ultrasound to women considering abortion. The second requires health care providers to tell women seeking an abortion that terminating her pregnancy would end a human life.

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