North Dakota Legislature: Bills on book banning, artificial insemination, abortion take center stage

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Bismarck, ND) -- The bills continue to flow through Bismarck as the 68th legislative session marches on.

A new House bill would ban certain books from North Dakota public libraries.

The controversial bill was introduced Tuesday and would ban public libraries from stocking books about the study of "sexually explicit material."

Cody Schuler with the ACLU of North Dakota calls the bill censorship and says people should get to choose for themselves what books and materials they read. Dozens of librarians have submitted testimony opposing the bill, saying it is unenforceable and could rule out books with crucial health information from collections.

Lawmakers supporting the bill say the issue isn't political, it's "common sense."

In the meantime,  Lawmakers in the House are also considering a bill dealing with artificial insemination.  A bill was introduced that would make it illegal to artificially inseminate someone with reproductive materials they hadn't consented to using.

Representative Bernie Satrom is sponsoring the measure and says he got the idea after watching a Netflix documentary about a fertility doctor who used his own sperm to impregnate women.

The bill would make the offense a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison or a ten-thousand dollar fine.

And abortion is also back on the docket, this time that would ban anyone from forcing a woman to having one.

The bill passed through committee Tuesday after a brief hearing. A similar law making it a crime for human traffickers to force a victim to have an abortion has already been passed.

Supporters say the current measure is needed to extend that protection to everyone.