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April 3, 2009

North Dakota State Senate Rejects Deceptive, Dangerous "Personhood" Bill

NARAL Pro-Choice America flooded legislators, governor with messages opposing efforts that anti-choice activists are pushing in 16 states

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today hailed the North Dakota state Senate for rejecting a dangerous so-called "personhood" bill that would outlaw abortion and could lead to bans on birth control, stem-cell research, and in-vitro fertilization. The Senate, which has an anti-choice majority, rejected the extreme measure by a vote of 29-16.

"Today's victory in North Dakota is an important step forward for pro-choice Americans, but it's not the end. North Dakota was the first battle in an orchestrated campaign by anti-choice extremists to pass legislation across the country that threatens women's access to safe, legal abortion and other reproductive-health care," Keenan said. "After losing the White House, critical seats in Congress, and three ballot measures last November, including a similar 'personhood' amendment in Colorado, the anti-choice movement is waging war on women's freedom and privacy by advancing so-called 'personhood' measures in 16 states. Here at NARAL Pro-Choice America, we will continue our work to defeat these anti-choice bills."

NARAL Pro-Choice America contacted its members in North Dakota with email alerts and volunteer phone banks that reached 542 supporters in the state who then contacted their senators and urged them to oppose this dangerous bill. In addition, nearly 20,000 national activists sent messages to North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, urging him to veto any abortion-ban legislation that reaches his desk.

Keenan pointed out that North Dakota does not have a single pro-choice law on the books that helps prevent unintended pregnancy. Women in North Dakota have no safeguard against pharmacies that refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control, and they have no assurance of receiving emergency contraception at the hospital in the case of sexual assault.

"We call on North Dakota legislators to seize this opportunity to stop divisive attacks on a women's right to choose," Keenan said. "They should focus on ways to prevent unintended pregnancies, such as improving access to birth control, which would reduce the need for abortion without undermining reproductive freedom."

More information on choice-related laws in North Dakota.

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