On Friday the North Dakota Senate passed two bills:
- The first forbids abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. For some babies, that is as early as six weeks.
- And the second bans abortions in cases of genetic abnormalities or sex selection!
North Dakota House Bill 1305 passed and is now on its way to the governor. It is the first bill to specifically protect unborn children with genetic abnormalities in the United States.
I know the likelihood of these pieces of legislation surviving court challenges isn’t great, but it is heartening to have an elected body speak so clearly of their desire to protect unborn children with disabilities.
And we should seek to provide unusual protections for these children because they are unusually vulnerable as they are both not yet born AND because they are disabled. Two years ago I summarized some secular arguments from disability activists who wanted unborn children with disabilities to be protected; they recognized that this culture denigrates people with disabilities which results in much higher rates of abortion simply because the children will live with disability.
The North Dakota House and Senate took that great extra step in asserting that all children are worthy of protection, disabled and non-disabled, girls and boys. If we need to start with a heartbeat and a strong statement about not aborting children with disabilities or children who are the ‘wrong’ gender, then lets start there. But let’s not stop there.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)