North Dakota’s House of Representatives has passed a bill recognizing a fertilized egg as a “person” worthy of rights. The bill, which now moves to the Senate, is a direct and legally interesting challenge to Roe V. Wade and is seen by many as a backdoor to outlawing abortion.
The House voted 51-41 yesterday declaring that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.
Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, sponsor of the legislation was quoted as saying “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.”
He said that the language in the bill is what’s required by Roe vs. Wade to overturn abortion. The backdoor legal maneuver is being called the “Blackmun Hole” in the Roe v. Wade decision. Justice Blackmun implied in the Roe decision that if the case were established that the embryo was a person, the argument for abortion would necessarily collapse. So with this legislation, the House (backed by a grassroots organization called Personhood USA) is acknowledging the “fetus” as a “person” and therefore claiming the right to life.
It’s all quite brilliant if you ask me. But some pro-choice Democrats are arguing against the bill due to fiscal responsibility (HA! A little late for that isn’t it? Interesting angle from the stimulus party?) because the bill will almost certainly land North Dakota in a long drawn out expensive court case.
Personhood USA has said that North Dakota isn’t alone in this. Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced H.R. 881, the Right to Life Act , on the federal level.
Amd five States have now introduced bills affirming the personhood rights of pre-born humans from the moment of fertilization including:
Maryland / HB925 Delegate Don Dwyer
North Dakota / H.R. 1572 Rep. Dan Ruby
Montana / SB 406 Sen. Daniel W McGee
South Carolina / H.3526 Rep. Liston Barfield
Alabama / SB-335 Sen. Hank Erwin
Oregon has begun a personhood amendment petition drive, and Mississippi’s personhood amendment petition drive is expected to launch within weeks.