N. Dakota lawmakers define life as starting at conception


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota lawmakers oday moved to outlaw abortion in the state by passing a bill defining life as starting at conception.

The bill is one of a series of anti-abortion measures the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed this year despite critics' insistence that they are unconstitutional and violate the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion until a fetus considered viable, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The North Dakota House approved the bill 57-35, sending it to the Republican governor, who has not yet said whether he will sign or veto it. The Senate approved it last month.

The so-called personhood measure bestows human rights on fertilized human eggs. Efforts to pass similar measures in other states have failed, but anti-abortion legislation has had strong momentum in North Dakota this year with lawmakers introducing a slew of measures aimed at closing the state's sole abortion clinic in Fargo and challenging Roe v. Wade.

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