A bill introduced to the North Dakota state legislature would, if passed, define abortion as a form of first-degree murder, the legal equivalent of murdering an infant child.
House Bill 1313, introduced by Representative Jeff Hoverson, declares "a person guilty of murder of an unborn child" if they intentionally cause the death of that human being. If someone knowingly performs an abortion that is not intended to save the mother's life, it would be classified a Class AA felony.
The punishment for such an offense would be up to life in prison without parole. Despite the penalty exacted against the one who performs the abortion, there is nothing in the bill that targets the mother who seeks one.
Hoverson said that while he is a Christian, it is his sense of natural morality that drives the legislation, not the doctrines of Jesus.
"Any human that would have compassion would not want to see a baby die that way, but it's not because some religion taught me," Hoverson said. "It's everything from humanity to common sense. I think even an atheist could come to that."
If the bill is passed and signed into law, it would conflict with current application of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court, meaning it would likely meet a legal challenge in federal courts.