Pro-life advocates lauded the North Dakota legislature for passing two restrictive laws that ban abortion based on gender, genetic defects like Down Syndrome, or when the baby's heartbeat is detectible.
“A civil society does not discriminate against people – born and unborn – for their sex or for disability,” Charmain Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, said March 15.
“We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it,” Yoest added.
The two bills passed the North Dakota Senate on March 15. State Rep. Bette Grande, a sponsor of both measures, said she had relatives with children born with genetic abnormalities and that she has been surprised at the discrimination she has witnessed.
The state representative described the the heartbeat-based legislation, which would bar abortions as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, as “very simple.”
“Everyone understands what a beating heart means. It means life,” she said in a March 12 guest post for the North Dakota-based website SayAnythingBlog.com.
“A heartbeat is accepted by everyone as a sign of life and a baby’s heartbeat gives compelling testimony from the womb.”
Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple has said he will sign the bills and abortion rights groups have claimed they will challenge the legislation in court.
The Arkansas legislature recently passed a bill to ban abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Some pro-life groups are concerned that the legislation could be struck down in court and further strengthen Roe v. Wade.
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said a law’s end goal should be surviving in court. He told the Associated Press that he thinks the Arkansas bill will be struck down because it contradicts the current Supreme Court view that abortion is a constitutional right.
“It’s easy to say, 'Let’s save all the babies,'” he said. “But you could pass 100 bills a day, and they’ll never go into effect and save one baby’s life.”