February 25, 2009
North Dakota to Vote on Personhood Bill
The North Dakota House approved a bill that would define a fertilized human egg as a person, and The Washington Times reports that a Senate vote could come as early as next week.
Valerie Richardson writes that last year, personhood ballot measures in Colorado and Montana were defeated, but five states - Alabama, Maryland, North Dakota, Montana and South Carolina - have introduced personhood legislation. The bill doesn't necessarily have full support from those you might expect, though.
Conspicuously absent from the debate was North Dakota Right to Life, which neither supported nor opposed the bill. The nation's largest and best-known pro-life group, Right to Life has disagreed in some instances with the personhood movement over tactics and strategy.
Paul Maloney, executive director of North Dakota Right to Life, said he worried that the bill's wording may not measure up to legal scrutiny and added that he was consulting with the organization's attorneys before taking a position.
The North Dakota bill states: "For purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens."
"It's always a good time to challenge Roe v. Wade. But you have to be intelligent about it," Mr. Maloney said. "The last thing you want to do is go with a poorly worded personhood bill, have it defeated and then destroy your chance of overturning Roe."