North Dakota Bill Would Ban Abortion, Problems Cause Pro-Life Opposition

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

North Dakota Bill Would Ban Abortion, Problems Cause Pro-Life Opposition

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8, 2005

Fargo, ND ( — A state Representative has proposed a bill that would ban all abortions, reintroducing legislation that failed last year. However, because the bill also targets women and would fail at the Supreme Court, pro-life groups say they will again oppose it.

State Rep. Dan Ruby, a Republican from Minot, put forward the bill, which would charge anyone performing an abortion or a mother taking the RU 486 abortion drug with murder. The murder statute applied in the bill is the state’s most serious, calling for life in prison if convicted.

"The intent is not to be in people’s face with it. It’s just to let them know that it’s important to a lot of people," Ruby told the Associated Press.

The bill applies to an abortion that is done at any time during a woman’s pregnancy.

Pro-life groups plan to oppose the bill for two main reasons.

First, they argue that, should the bill passs, it would be challenged in court by abortion advocates and appeals would take the case to the nation’s high court. There, it would be overturned by a Supreme Cour that currently backs abortion 6-3 and create more legal precedent in favor of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Secondly, the state’s leading pro-life organizations say a bill can ban abortions without targeting women, who are often a second victim.

The North Dakota Right to Life Association and North Dakota Catholic Conference both opposed the bill.

Christopher Dodson, director of the Catholic group, says that punishing women, who are often misled by abortion facilities, is not necessary to end abortion.

"There are different ways to eliminate an evil," he told the Associated Press.

Rep. Sally Sandvig, a Fargo Democrat, proposed the abortion ban during the last legislation session and it was defeated overwhelmingly in the first legislative panel that held hearings on it.

There were 1,219 abortions performed in North Dakota in 2002, the last year in which public figures were available.