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Abortion bills get thumbs-down

BISMARCK - A House committee has recommended three of four abortion bills it heard Monday be rejected. Meeting Wednesday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee gave a do-pass recommendation only to the so-called trigger bill, which would outlaw...

BISMARCK - A House committee has recommended three of four abortion bills it heard Monday be rejected.

Meeting Wednesday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee gave a do-pass recommendation only to the so-called trigger bill, which would outlaw abortion in North Dakota if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion as part of a constitutional right to privacy.

That measure, House Bill 1466, also contains an exception for abortions necessary to save the life of the mother.

The committee approved the do-pass motion on an 8-4 vote.

The second bill, House Bill 1489, would make those performing abortions subject to a class AA murder charge and anyone who aids or abets an abortion guilty of a class C felony.

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The committee briefly discussed - but did not introduce or vote on - an amendment to keep the pregnant woman from being charged with a felony.

Committee members noted that the bill's sponsors didn't want it amended and want it adopted as is so that it can be challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

They voted 13-0 to send HB 1489 to the House floor with a do-not-pass recommendation.

A bill that would have put restrictions on prenatal genetic testing unless the test resulted in treatment also got thumbs-down from the panel.

Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, said of House Bill 1494, "I think there is a lot of vagueness here."

And Rep. Lois Delmore, D-Grand Forks, said, "Why we'd want to pass that type of legislation, I have no idea."

The committee voted 11-2 to recommend the House not pass the bill.

The fourth bill had much less unanimity. The committee first amended House Bill 1464 to remove a section that is in conflict with a federal program that provides the state with funds for family planning programs.

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The bill adds several new requirements to the informed consent warnings that doctors or their agents must give women contemplating an abortion.

The committee voted 7-6 to send the bill to the House with a do-not-pass recommendation.

The bills should show up on the House floor session calendar as early as today, but it could be several days before leaders decide to have them debated and voted on.

Cole writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

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