Monday, July 28, 2014

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University of Mary Theologian Reflects on ND Pro-Life Legislation

Last week, North Dakota passed some of the country’s strongest pro-life legislation. ND Governor Jack Dalrymple signed three pro-life bills, including one that would ban most abortions in the state. Those bills included:

HB 1305 would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities, preventing the abortion of those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.

HB 1456 would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The Governor in a statement admitted that there is uncertainty whether this measure will survive a court challenge.

Wrote the Governor:

...this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question. The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.

The Governor also signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota, thereby restricting who can perform abortions in the state.

In addition, SCR 4009 seeks to place the Right to Life in the State Constitution. That referendum could go to voters next year.

“Ever since Roe v. Wade, North Dakota has always been a pro-life state,” said Dr. Leroy Huizenga, chair of the department of theology at University of Mary. “We’re a progressive state, but after Roe v. Wade many have been concerned about the life issues.”

Huizenga explained that the state used to have three abortion businesses. Today, only one remains, in Fargo.

“What’s interesting is that party affiliation has very little to do with governing philosophy,” said Huizenga. “All of these bills have passed with bipartisan support.”

“People spend money on things they think are valuable,” said Huizenga. “Nothing is more valuable than defending human life. The protection of all human life is the primary purpose of government.”

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