CBNNews.com - North Dakota lawmakers have approved a measure that would give fertilized human eggs the same legal rights as human beings, a step that could essentially ban abortion in the state.
The bill says that "any organism with the genome of homo sapiens" is a person protected by rights granted by the North Dakota Constitution and state laws.
Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, said the legislation did not automatically ban abortion.
"This language is not as aggressive as the direct ban legislation that I've proposed in the past," Ruby said during House floor debate on Tuesday. "This is very simply defining when life begins, and giving that life some protections under our Constitution - the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Critics claim the measure will cost millions of dollars to defend. But Ruby contends that the state has spent money on other lesser important issues.
The bill also requires abortion practitioners to inform women that abortion kills a human being and that human life begins at the point of conception.
Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance says his group supports the measure because it helps women understand the reality of an abortion.
"As obvious as this disclosure is, it is necessary for the woman to be fully informed before giving her 'informed consent' to this procedure which will terminate the life of this unborn little boy or girl," he said.
Representatives voted 51-41 to approve the measure Tuesday. It now moves to the North Dakota Senate.
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma House committee has cleared a measure to prohibit physicians from performing abortions solely on on the basis of a baby's gender.
A state lawmaker who authored the bill says a doctor would be prohibited from performing an abortion if the mother specifically said the fetus' sex was the reason for seeking the procedure.
Sources: The Associated Press, Lifenews.com