Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I apologize for North Dakota and its personhood bill

I grew up in ND.  I went to public schools in ND.  I attended ND's land-grant university.  I worked in ND for most of my academic career.  And now I am ashamed of ND.

I left ND for another academic position.  But it feels more like the state has left me.

ND legislators have pushed a personhood measure onto the ballot. (Quotes from TalkingPointsMemo.)

The single-sentence measure would be the nation's first to amend a state constitution and require the "inalienable right to life" at "any stage of development." Supporters say it's meant to protect the state's current abortion laws from judicial activism. Those opposed believe the intent is to outlaw abortion altogether and say the vague wording could affect birth control, end-of-life care plans and in vitro fertilization.
[Dina] Butcher [a Republican opposed to the measure] said the measure's vague language is meant to "camouflage" its real intent to bar abortions and also could potentially affect end-of-life care plans and cause problems for infertile couples seeking to use in vitro fertilization.

Proposition supporters insist that is not the case and that the bill is mean to "protect" existing laws. But regardless of what the intent is, consequences of that measure loom large.

... Dr. Steffen Christensen, who founded North Dakota's only in vitro fertilization clinic in Fargo 20 years ago, said he will close the clinic if the measure passes. His attorneys have told him doctors and workers are at risk of legal action "if there is a loss of an embryo."
"We are covered for malpractice but criminal charges? We're on our own," he said. "Sooner or later, someone would try to make an example of us."

Come on, North Dakota.  You used to be a reasonable place.  Stop trying to compete with Arizona as the craziest state in the nation.

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