The North Dakota legislature has placed a "personhood" amendment on the ballot in 2014 so voters can decide whether to adopt the most sweeping abortion ban in the country, according to media reports.
The personhood measure, which cleared both houses of the legislature on Friday, would guarantee "the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected." Opponents say it would prohibit all abortion in the state and may also outlaw birth control.
"The North Dakota legislature has taken historic strides to protect every human being in the state, paving the way for human rights nationwide," said Keith Mason, the president of Personhood USA, which supports the amendment.
Abortion rights groups swiftly criticized the move.
"I am outraged that North Dakota women’s rights and personal health are under attack by extreme politicians. Not only is the Personhood bill extraordinarily dangerous, it’s unconstitutional," said EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock, predicting that the state's voters will reject the amendment.
"The unprecedented attacks on women’s rights and health across the country are a wakeup call," said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "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."