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There is panic among abortion advocates over what has been described as a freight train of pro-life proposals in North Dakota coming at them faster than they can respond, so their answer has been a flood of misinformation, according to pro-lifers.
“What is happening in North Dakota is significant for the pro-life movement,” said Gualberto Garcia Jones, an attorney for Personhood USA. “The pro-abortion crowd is about to be [run] over by a pro-life train and they are afraid they will be unable to stop it.”
WND previously reported the “personhood” movement was attempting a different strategy in North Dakota this year by first pushing pro-life legislation through the Senate, which has been more resistant to pro-life legislation than the House.
So the Senate approved several personhood plans, and last week, the North Dakota House got into action, passing several pro-life bills. One was a fetal heartbeat bill, another would prohibit abortions based on the baby’s gender or on a genetic defect such as Down Syndrome.
Abortion supporters have complained that the heartbeat bill would ban abortions before a woman knows she is pregnant. The North Dakota law would subject doctors who perform abortions after the child’s heartbeat is detected to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
The law comes just days after Arkansas passed a law prohibiting abortions after 12 weeks except in the case of rape or incest. A doctor who violate the law would lose his medical license.
The ACLU called the Arkansas law the “worst” threat to the pro-abortion movement “in decades.”
However, the group’s label did not last long. The ACLU now says that wanting to ban abortions based on a baby’s gender or genetic defects makes the North Dakota bill “the most extreme abortion law in the country.”
And in an email alert, the ACLU claimed the state’s fetal heartbeat law would prevent doctors from helping a pregnant woman’s unborn child.
The email, sent by a pro-abortion supporter named Samantha, tells how she received news from doctors that there were complications in her pregnancy and her child would not survive to full term. She said if the pregnancy had occurred under the North Dakota law, “it would have been illegal for the doctors to help.”
Jones says the claim that doctors could not provide medical care to a woman and her child is untrue.
“There is nothing in this bill that prevents a doctor from offering medical help to an unborn child who has a medical condition requiring surgery or treatment,” he said. “What it does is say that doctors cannot kill the child just because a person may not like the sex of the child or feel that a child with Down Syndrome does not deserve to live.”
The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are calling on supporters to pressure North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple to veto the bills. However, the legislature is not finished yet and plans to pass still more pro-life bills this session.
The House is expected to vote and pass two personhood measures it previously approved. The bills have already passed the Senate. One of the bills enshrines personhood in state law, while the other would ask voters to approve a change to Section 1 of the state constitution to read, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and defended.”
Pro-abortion supporters frequently claims personhood legislation would prosecute women for miscarriages, outlaw birth control and prohibit doctors from acting to save the life of the mother.
The Huffington Post reports that a fertility specialist says the proposed amendment in North Dakota would outlaw in vitro fertilization.
“The concern is that this is criminal negligence if anything should happen to an embryo,” Dr. Steffen Christensen said.
Jones called the claims outrageous, noting the North Dakota Senate has two Republican doctors who voted for the personhood measure, Spencer Berry of Fargo and Ralph Kilzer of Bismarck.
“Yet the abortion crowd would have us believe these lawmakers would vote to criminalize themselves,” Jones said. “That is the types of claims they make about any attempt to prevent abortion.”
State Sen. Margaret Sitte told the Post that claims the bill bans in vitro fertilization have no basis in fact. She notes the bill allows exceptions for “screening, collecting, preparing, transferring, or cryopreserving a human being created through in vitro fertilization for the purpose of being transferred to a human uterus.”
Jones says since the pro-abortion lobby has such deep pockets, the pro-life movement has adopted a strategy of achieving victory by overwhelming force. The concept is based on military strategies in World War II in which the allies overwhelmed Nazi Germany and Japan by putting so many soldiers and equipment in the field the enemy could not possibly fight on every front.
“Currently we have pro-life legislation being proposed in 13 different states, and nine pro-life bills have been introduced in North Dakota,” Jones said. “We want to put the pro-abortion crowd on the defensive, just like Hitler was when he was forced to fight the Americans, British and Russians at the same time. He didn’t have the forces to fight everywhere. That’s what we want to do to the pro-abortion supporters.”
Jones said the tactic appears to be working. The pro-abortion groups appear to have abandoned the legislative battlefield, he said, and are instead shifting to the courts.
“While the ACLU and others are in panic mode about the two bills last week, their concern wasn’t evident,” he explained. “Last week when all the pro-life bills were in committee, the pro-abortion crowd didn’t testify against any of the bills except the personhood legislation.”
Jones said one of the bills would require doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
“This could effectively close down the state’s only abortion clinic,” he said. “In spite of this, not a single pro-abortion group testified against the bill.”
He explained that this does not mean the pro-abortion forces have given up. Instead, he says, they have repositioned their forces to the courts.
“The problem is the state has liberal courts, so the pro-abortion movement is now attempting to use the courts to claim that abortion is a right under the state constitution,” he said.
He noted the Center for Reproductive Rights along and the ACLU are alleging that the North Dakota Constitution’s Liberty clause enshrines a state right to abortion.
Jones says the reason abortion supporters put so much of their resources into opposing personhood is because it is a direct threat.
“The reason this is important is that 16 other states specifically grant a right to abortion, which prevents any type of pro-life legislation, including parental consent laws from being passed. While Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion, it does not do so in all cases. However, if a state law is broader in allowing abortion it takes precedence over federal law. On the other hand, if a state law is more restrictive then federal court rulings and laws take precedence,” he said.
“This is why state personhood constitutional amendments terrify abortion supporters. Placing this protection for the unborn in the state constitution effectively prevents state judges from engaging in judicial activism and preventing any attempts to ‘regulate’ abortion.”
Jones said while personhood amendments have been on the ballots in other states, there is a strong possibility North Dakota will be the first to pass one of the measures.
“In the past, pro-life groups have been divided about personhood, with some concerned it could backfire and solidify support for abortion. Because of this, some pro-life voters refused to vote for personhood amendments,” he said.
“However, the North Dakota personhood amendment has the support of all of the state’s pro-life groups including North Dakota Right for Life, the North Dakota Catholic conference, the North Dakota Life League, the North Dakota Family alliance, and of course Personhood North Dakota,” he said. “This is significant because unfortunately different pro-life organizations are almost never unified, but now they are.”
Personhood plans declare that an unborn baby is a person from the moment of conception, relying on a statement by Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.
“If this suggestion of personhood is established,” Blackmun wrote, “[The abortion] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the amendment.”
Personhood proposals also have been presented in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Virginia, Colorado and Montana.
Personhood supporters say they are undeterred by their initial defeats and liken their struggle to British lawmaker William Wilberforce’s fight against slavery.
“We know this is not going to be an easy battle, and the pro-abortion supporters will fight tooth and nail to preserve their right to kill the unborn,” Dennis Hoshiko, a Greeley, Colo. resident active with the personhood movement said.
“When Wilberforce fought against slavery, it was a slow process, and at first the public was against him. Over time, his arguments won the day. It is the same thing with personhood. We are slowly but surely winning the argument.”