The North Dakota Senate approved two pieces of legislation in March that, if signed by the governor, will protect preborn children whose heartbeat can be detected and those who are diagnosed in utero with genetic abnormalities, respectively.
Pro-life stalwart Rep. Bette Grande (R-Fargo) sponsored both bills in a bold effort to mitigate abortion in North Dakota. Although the bills are extraordinarily radical as pro-life legislation goes (they are unprecedented, in fact), Grande observes with candor the common sense and humane approach that the bills enshrine.
Speaking of the bill to ban genetic abnormality abortions, which would illegalize the practice of aborting a child based on its sex or genetic makeup, Grande recalled the days of Hitler’s eugenic policies. She compares the abortion of children with genetic abnormalities with the prejudices of Nazi Germany, not mincing words when she stated: “It takes you back to Hitler, and we know where that went. He started going after those with abnormalities, and I think it’s an absurdity that we would go back to that kind of thing.”  Absurd indeed. Witnessing the discrimination suffered by her own family members born with genetic abnormalities, Grande has seen first-hand the need for more comprehensive legislation that recognizes the dignity of such persons and protects their right to life.
The same bill would also ban sex-selection abortions, which are wildly out of control in countries with a history of strong preferences for male children, like China and India. In the United States, thanks to rulings on the federal court cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (both 1973), abortion is virtually on-demand, so there is no legislation in most states to prevent a parent from choosing to abort based on a preferred sex.
For example, couples who use in vitro fertilization to conceive often find themselves blessed with multiples. However, in these cases, physicians, citing the health risks sometimes associated with carrying multiples, often recommend what is known as “reduction abortion,” a procedure in which a parent who does not wish to carry multiple babies to term chooses to eliminate one or more of the embryos. The most disturbing element of reduction abortion is its requirement that a parent choose which of their own children to keep and which to destroy. These decisions are sometimes made based on desired sex, leaving the children of the undesired sex at the mercy of an abortionist. North Dakota’s new legislation—if signed into law by the governor—will protect preborn children from being aborted on the grounds of sex preference.
The “heartbeat” bill, filed in conjunction with the genetic abnormality bill, would outlaw the abortion of a fetus whose heartbeat can be detected. This can occur as early as five to six weeks. (According to National Right to Life, the fetal heart is developed and beating by 22 days.) This legislation will essentially root out surgical abortion in North Dakota, which cannot normally be carried out on a fetus younger than five or six weeks.
Not surprisingly, North Dakota’s brave legislation has garnered attention from shocked and incensed liberal media outlets across the board. A quick Google News search for “North Dakota abortion” gleans a slew of articles from every major pundit with headlines like, “How Can North Dakota Pols Ban Abortion? Let Me Count the Ways” (the ACLU), “North Dakota legislature approves two anti-abortion bills” (CNN), “North Dakota lawmakers pass restrictive abortion bill” (LA Times). Notice how these news outlets focus on the restrictions, rather than the protections proposed by these bills. The anti-life movement would have the public believe that tightening up the circumstances in which an abortion is allowed to be performed curtails a woman’s freedom.
However, the motive of North Dakota’s legislators was not so licentious at all; their goal is clearly to protect the freedoms of preborn humans, namely: fetuses whose hearts are beating, babies in danger of being aborted on account of their sex, and preborn children with genetic abnormalities. In so doing, the legislature affirms its support for women, who should not be subjected to a mentality that implies that their reproductive system is intrinsically flawed in having created a beautiful baby, and they are spared the devastating physical and psychological side effects of abortion. Lauds go out to you, North Dakota, for your daring efforts, and we hope to see 49 more states following your fearless leadership very soon.