North Dakota Abortion Procedure Ban (2012)

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North Dakota's Baby Decapitation and Skull Crushing Ban did not make the November 2012 statewide ballot in North Dakota as an initiated state statute.

The proposed initiative would have banned the use of "any instrument or procedure to grasp the skull or neck" of a fetus in order to decapitate or crush the skull of a fetus. Any doctor that did use such an instrument would have faced felony charges and penalties of up to 20 years in prison with a $10,000 fine. However, should a skull fragment injure the woman during the abortion procedure (also known as a partial-birth abortion), the doctor would have faced imprisonment for life without the possibility for parole.[1]

The initiative was filed late April 13, 2010 and was approved for circulation by the North Dakota Secretary of State on April 22.[2] However, as of petition drive deadline day no petitions were submitted in an attempt to qualify the measure for the 2010 ballot or the 2012 ballot.


In 2007 the United States Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning partial-birth abortions.


In early May 2010, following the approval of the filed petition by the secretary of state and the attorney general the organization Stop Decapitation Network announced efforts to circulate petitions for the proposed initiative.[3]

One of the initiative's sponsors, Rep. Dan Ruby, said the initiative was meant to prevent an abortion in which the fetus was partially removed from a woman and it's skull was crushed to assist in the removal, also known as a "partial-birth" abortion. Daniel Woodard, chairman of the initiative, said, "I see this as an incremental way to provide protection for unborn children. It is something (voters) can understand, something they can grasp. They know what decapitation is. They know what skull crushing is."[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: North Dakota signature requirements

The petition was valid for one year and could have appeared on the 2012 ballot. The petition was valid until April 22, 2011. However, as of June 2011, no signatures were submitted.

According to new census numbers, the measure required a minimum of 13,452 valid signatures in order to qualify for the 2012 ballot.

2010 effort

In order to qualify for the November 2010 ballot initiative supporters were required to collect 12,844 signatures by August 4, 2010. However, as of petition drive deadline day no petitions were submitted in an attempt to qualify the measure for the 2010 ballot.

See also

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