North Dakota 2013
Status: On 2014 Ballot
In January 2013, three personhood bills were filed in the North Dakota Senate.
SCR-4009 is a legislatively-referred personhood amendment which will appear on the November 2014 ballot. It amends the North Dakota Constitution to state that “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” As expected, it passed the Senate by 26-21 on February 7, and passed the House on March 22 by 57-35. As a proposed amendment, it does not need to be signed by the Governor (and cannot be vetoed), and now goes on the November 2014 ballot.
SB-2302 was a bill which would establish penalties and definitions of crimes against embryos and fetuses. It contained numerous restrictions on IVF which would have amounted to a de facto ban on infertility treatment.. It would have gone into effect upon passage of a personhood amendment to the Constitution. However, it was rejected by the Senate on February 7 and is now dead.
SB-2303 was a personhood bill which modifies the North Dakota Century Code to apply all criminal laws to ” an individual member of the species homo sapiens at every stage of development.” It contains an exception for “medical treatment of life-threatening conditions of pregnancy”, for “contraception administered before clinically diagnosable pregnancy,” and for “screening, collecting, preparing, transferring, or cryopreserving of a human being created through in vitro fertilization for the purpose of being transferred to a human uterus”. However, it did not contain exceptions for other infertility treatments such as Clomid, and there were significant concerns about how SB-2303 would impact IVF physicians’ everyday practice. SB-2303 was vociferously opposed by North Dakota OBGYNs and infertility physicians and by the North Dakota Medical Association.
SB-2303 was amended by the Senate to mandates that North Dakota expand their Medicaid program to cover all pregnant women to the fullest extent allowable by federal law, and that they provide equivalent pregnancy and delivery care coverage to pregnant women who do not have private insurance coverage.
SB-2303 was passed by the Senate 25-22 on February 7. However, because the floor amendment regarding Medicaid expansion and prenatal coverage involved a significant financial cost (estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars annually), it was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. It was passed again by the full Senate 24-23 on February 18.
On March 22, the North Dakota House rejected SB-2303 by 49-43. It had previously been expected to pass, given that the House passed a personhood bill by 68-32 in 2011, but it failed over concerns about infertility treatment and end-of-life care. It is now dead for the 2013-2014 session.