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N.D. Lawmakers Propose Ban on Abortions Based on Sex of Fetus, Genetic Defects

January 24, 2013 — A dozen North Dakota Republican lawmakers are co-sponsoring legislation (HB 1305) that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus or genetic defects, such as Down syndrome, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

If enacted, abortion providers who terminate a pregnancy because of the fetus' sex or a genetic defect could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum $2,000 fine.

On Tuesday, state Rep. Bette Grande (R) testified before the House Human Services Committee that abortions based on preferences for a certain sex or because the fetus has a genetic defect have "no place in civilized society." Grande added abortions based on the fetus' sex are usually rooted in a preference for sons, which she called "an act of gender-based violence."

Renee Stromme -- director of the North Dakota Women's Network -- noted that the bill would not allow exceptions when a fetus has a potentially fatal defect. She said that women and physicians should be able to consider every medical option available without government inference (MacPherson, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/22).