The ‘Worst State For Women’ Just Got Even Worse

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shutterstock_111708281The whole state of North Dakota only has one abortion clinic, but apparently that’s one too many for state legislators. The State Senate passed two bills on Thursday that will make it even harder to access abortion. The “worst state” in the country for women just got even worse, with the passing of the Personhood Constitutional Amendment initiative.

The Personhood Constitutional Amendment initiative would enable the state to amend its constitution to give legal rights to human embryos. Fantastic. As if it’s not hard enough to fight the government to be able to make choices about your body. Now you’re basically fighting against your own embryo. As if an embryo wasn’t just a mass of cells, but a thinking, feeling entity that was able to debate you for a say in the matter.

“We are intending that it be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, since Scalia said that the Supreme Court is waiting for states to raise a case,” state Sen. Margaret Sitte (R), the sponsor of the personhood initiative, told HuffPost.  No kidding.

The Senate also passed a bill that could potentially shut down the only clinic that performs abortions in the state, by requiring doctors who perform the procedure to have admitting privileges at the local hospital. This loophole would be so damaging because due to harassment and threats most doctors that perform abortions at the clinic come from out of town. They certainly wouldn’t have privileges at local hospitals. The chance of the doctors getting these privileges are slim because neighboring hospitals may not want to draw the same threats and harassment.

“Yes, this bill could possibly close the abortion clinic [in Fargo],” Sitte said. “I’m not saying that’s the intention of the law. The intention of the law is to ensure that women have adequate health care and the follow-up care that they need.”

I call bullshit. She just admitted she wanted to directly challenge Roe v. Wade. Now she says it’s not her intention to shut down the only clinic in her state that provides abortions.

The State Senate rejected a second personhood bill introduced by Sitte that would have made it difficult for women to use in vitro fertilization. The bill would have prohibited doctors from disposing of unused embryos after an in vitro cycle, which would force families to pay hundreds of dollars each year to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely. It would have also prevented women with cancer or other illnesses from using a sperm or egg donor to conceive through in vitro fertilization.

This woman is a piece of work. Am I the only one that can’t actually believe we are still having conversations like these in 2013? Abortion has been safe and legal for 40 years – and it’s one of the most important victories of the women’s movement. Why are we entering this horrifying time machine?

Sarah Stoesz, the CEO of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota told the Huffington Post:

“Politicians in North Dakota are wasting taxpayer time advancing what would no doubt become another divisive constitutional amendment with dangerous unintended consequences for North Dakota families,” she said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood will continue to fight these legislative attacks on women’s health in partnership with a broad coalition of doctors, patients, teachers, lawyers and other concerned North Dakotans who do not want to see politicians inserting themselves into the private medical decision-making of women and families in our state.”

It seems that North Dakota has someone speaking out for the embryos. We should all be thankful there’s someone speaking out for women, too.

(photo: Alliance/