By Ariel Rothfield
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR/CNN) - In North Dakota a group of doctors is protesting two new bills now in the state legislature. The legislation would recognize fertilized eggs as human beings.
The doctors are calling the measures extreme.
Dressed in white coats and armed with rage, a dozen North Dakota doctors stood ready to fight.
"To think that our legislature could make us at risk for what we saw and what we consider the stone age of medicine is beyond my wildest imagination," said pediatrician Dr. Ted Kleiman.
Standing together, the doctors spoke out about two so-called 'personhood bills,' one which would add an amendment to that state's constitution defining life as any stage during development starting with conception.
"The concern is this is criminal negligence if anything should happen to an embryo," said reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Steffen Christensen.
Hundreds of area physicians signed a petition urging the committee to stop the bills, saying they do more than just ban abortions.
"These bills would not just limit abortion, but these bills would stop the practice of IVF in our state," said reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Stephanie Dahl.
Because under North Dakota Senate Bill 2303, discarding an unused embryo and ending a pregnancy would become a criminal offense.
"I can't justify employing my embryologists, if they're going to be under the threat of criminal prosecution," said Dr. Christensen.
Which the doctors said could also threaten the practice of medicine.
"I don't know many physicians willing to spend five years in prison because they were treating women with the standard of care treatment options," said Dr. Dahl.
But advocates of the bill strongly disagree, calling the measures common sense, especially for those in the medical field.
"I have to ask the question, how can doctors who spend their lives trying to help people have babies be so opposed to pro-life bills?" said State Senator Margaret Sitte (R-Bismarck).
The measures have already passed the senate and are moving to the house.
"No one has told us specifically what it is they want to do that 2303 is preventing them from doing," said Sitte.
"The supporters who claim that the bills don't affect medicine and don't affect women's health are wrong," said Dr. Dahl.
Which if passed, will be let up to the people of North Dakota to decide.
Opponents of the measures also say the legislation will jeopardize doctor-patient relationships.
The bills' supporters disagree.