NEW YORK — Planned Parenthood Action Fund today said that extreme restrictions on women’s health passed in the North Dakota are a wake-up call for the country, in the midst of an unprecedented nationwide rash of bills that would severely restrict women’s access to abortion. The North Dakota legislature passed a bill today to put a so-called “personhood” initiative on the 2014 state ballot, which if passed would give fertilized eggs full constitutional rights. This comes just days after the state legislature passed a law banning abortion after six weeks’ gestation. The six week ban awaits the governor’s signature or veto.
Bills have been introduced in 42 states that would ban or severely limit access to abortion — and, going much further, would make it harder for women to get birth control, cut women off from cancer screenings, and prohibit sex education programs that help prevent teen pregnancy. This week alone, Planned Parenthood’s national and local organizations are organizing supporters and educating lawmakers about dangerous bills in 15 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas.
Following is a statement issued today from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“These so-called ‘personhood’ measures are so extreme that they have been rejected every time they are on the ballot. What we’re seeing in North Dakota right now is a whole new level of extremism on women’s health and rights, with a raft of bills that show a complete disregard for women’s rights and health.
“The unprecedented attacks on women’s rights and health across the country are a wakeup call. It is simply not acceptable that women’s standing as free agents and full citizens, able to make their own health care decisions, will depend on where they happen to live.”