North Dakota comes closer to ‘personhood’ amendment outlawing abortion

Members of the North Dakota House of Representatives on Friday passed an amendment granting legal right to embryos from the time of fertilization, a measure that could ban all abortions in the state.

The vote, 57 to 35, comes on the heels of its passage in the Senate. It's the first state "personhood" amendment passed by a legislature in the United States.

The measure recognizes “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

If it's signed by Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, it will fall to state voters—potentially in 2014—to decide whether to amend their state constitution to include the measure.

Abortion rights advocates immediately decried Friday's development, heralding it as the latest attack on women.

“These so-called ‘personhood’ measures are so extreme that they have been rejected every time they are on the ballot," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "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."