Minot’s Republican Representative Jeff Hoverson sponsored the bill who would accuse abortion service providers of murder.
“We need to stop killing babies and listen to babies,” Hoverson said.
He is joined by four other lawmakers, including Hazelton’s Republican representative Jeff Magrum.
“As an adult, I have to stand up for the most vulnerable, the little children,” Magrum said.
Their bill would make abortion a class AA felony, punishable by life in prison. It would also criminalize anyone who “knowingly helps, encourages, facilitates, solicits or induces another person to have an abortion”.
Katie Christensen, National Director of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood, finds this language disturbing.
“It sounds very extreme and fundamentally criminalizes healthcare,” Christensen said.
Fargo’s Democratic Rep. Gretchen Dobervich said it could spark costly litigation if passed.
“He will eventually go to court,” Dobervich said.
Hoverson says asking the courts to review the law isn’t the intention, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing either, as the Conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court, which means that Bill 1313 could pose a problem. court challenge to the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
“It would be great if that was the case, but in fact I would rather have legislation that overrules it,” Hoverson said. “This is an issue that states have to start taking in hand, and if we have a state movement, it’s a much better approach.”
Hoverson compared the challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion, to states that defy federal marijuana laws.
“The Supreme Court ruling is just a decision,” Hoverson said.
This is not the first time the state has come up against the courts over abortion law. In 2019, the American Medical Association filed a lawsuit in US District Court against two laws passed in the last session, one of which would require doctors to provide patients with information on how to ‘reverse’ an abortion. .
“In previous sessions, we have seen unconstitutional laws related to abortion pass,” said Dobervich. “It costs taxpayers money for the attorney general’s office to defend these bills and I think the bill probably has a good chance of being re-enacted based on past history.
Christensen says the money would be better spent helping those affected by the pandemic.
“We would essentially take funds from North Dakota to deal with this bill in litigation when we could instead use those resources to focus on other more immediate needs in order to focus on the pandemic,” Christensen said.
When asked whether Hoverson thinks the bill goes too far in accusing the vendors of murder: “The best answer is a question – how is it not murder?” Hoverson said.
Hoverson said the Human Services Committee will resume the hearing early next week.