Bishop Folda Shares on Measure 1 – A Time of Opportunity in the State of North Dakota

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Video on Misleading Claims About Measure 1 and End-of-Life Care

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Rodger Wetzel, in addition to being an expert on elder care and a board member of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, is the President of the North Dakota chapter of the AARP.  He knows what he’s talking about!

Bishop Kagan on Measure 1

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Congressman Kevin Cramer Endorses Measure 1 – Reflects ND Values

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10670176_304352639750452_4021894435457745729_nBismarck, ND—ND Choose Life announced today that North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer has announced his enthusiastic support for Measure 1—the Human Life Amendment—which was placed on the November ballot by North Dakota Legislators.

“As North Dakota’s Congressman, and a life-long North Dakotan, I fully support Measure 1,” says Congressman Kevin Cramer. “North Dakota is the great state it is today because we respect families, common sense, and human life.  Measure 1 reflects our values. It’s a sensible measure to make sure that North Dakotans can decide what is best for North Dakotans, instead of a judge influenced by wealthy out-of-state interest groups that don’t share our values. “

“We greatly appreciate that Congressman Kevin Cramer has endorsed Measure 1—which will protect the common-sense pro-life laws passed in North Dakota by our legislators,” said Janne Myrdal, ND Choose Life chairwoman. “We are thankful for his strong pro-life voice that resonates with the majority of North Dakotans and continues to reinforce the values of our state.”

Congressman Cramer further states, “I urge every North Dakotan to join me in support of North Dakota and vote Yes on Measure 1.”

ND Choose Life is a coalition of pro-life, pro-family, women’s and religious organizations that include the North Dakota Catholic Conference, North Dakota Family Alliance, North Dakota Right to Life and the North Dakota chapter of Concerned Women for America LAC, among others.

For more information about ND Choose Life, go to www.ndchooselife.com,www.facebook.com/ndchooselife, and www.twitter.com/ndchooselife.

Cardinal O’Malley: Government Report Confirms Bishops’ Concern on Abortion Coverage

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Investigative agency finds over a thousand health plans covering abortion on demand
Promised “separation” of abortion funds from tax dollars not implemented
Abortion-related abuses under Affordable Care Act require corrective action
September 16, 2014
WASHINGTON—A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) “confirms the U.S. bishops’ longstanding concern about abortion coverage” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The report, “Health Insurance Exchanges: Coverage of Non-excepted Abortion Services by Qualified Health Plans,” was issued by the GAO, an independent reviewing agency of the U.S. government, on September 15.
Despite repeated claims by President Obama and other supporters that the ACA would not promote abortion, the report identified over a thousand health plans eligible for federal premium subsidies that cover elective abortions. On five state exchanges, every plan covers such abortions in 2014; in another three large states, 95 to 98 percent of the plans do so. The Act’s alleged requirements regulating abortion coverage do not exist or are widely ignored. Many health plans do not inform enrollees about their inclusion of abortion coverage; they do not tell them how much they are being charged for such coverage; and they do not charge a “separate payment” for abortions that is distinct from the premium payment eligible for federal tax subsidies. While state insurance departments are supposedly tasked by the federal government with ensuring that these health plans maintain segregated accounts for abortion funds to keep them separate from federal funds, the report indicates that this is not taking place.
“This report confirms the U.S. bishops’ longstanding concern about abortion coverage that we raised both before and after enactment of the Affordable Care Act by Congress,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “Surveys have shown that most Americans do not want elective abortion in their health coverage, and do not want their tax dollars to fund abortions.  Their wishes are not being followed, and it can be difficult or impossible for them to find out whether those wishes are respected even in their own health plan.”
Cardinal O’Malley added: “The only adequate solution to this problem is the one the Catholic bishops advocated from the beginning of the health care reform debate in Congress: Bring the Affordable Care Act into compliance with the Hyde amendment and every other federal law on abortion funding, by excluding elective abortions from health plans subsidized with federal funds. At a minimum, Congress should not delay in enacting a law to require full disclosure of abortion coverage and abortion premiums to Americans purchasing health plans.”
Past USCCB materials on this issue, including Cardinal O’Malley’s letters to Congress endorsing the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 7) and the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (H.R. 3279), are at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/index.cfm.  For an analysis of how the Affordable Care Act treats abortion coverage see www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Backgrounder-The-New-Federal-Regulation-on-Coerced-Abortion-Payments.pdf.

Column: Measure 1 Protects North Dakota Way of Life

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Gallup recently concluded a comprehensive survey of all 50 states on a variety of indicators, including economics, public affairs, education, the environment, and well-being.  The result: North Dakota ranks first among the states on almost every measurement.  The findings come as no surprise.  Other surveys show North Dakotans giving high ranks to the North Dakota legislature and other elected officials.eb4bc714b902

Democrat or Republican, this is mostly good news for the state’s incumbents.  With approval ratings that high, voters are unlikely to remove sitting lawmakers.  A consistent rule in politics is that people don’t like to rock the boat when the boat appears to be on the right course.

Despite the will of the people, however, the “boat” can be rocked, forced to change direction, or even capsized by the courts. Recognition of this real threat to North Dakota’s success and way of life is why a bipartisan majority of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly put Measure 1 on the ballot.

Measure 1 is an amendment to the state constitution.  It states: “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

The state’s elected lawmakers put Measure 1 on the ballot in response to a court decision by a local judge in Fargo.  That judge struck down a reasonable safety regulation on the use of abortion-inducing drugs on the grounds that the North Dakota Constitution contains a “right to abortion” that is so broad that even laws upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court would be found unconstitutional under the state constitution.

The judge’s “reasoning” is that the “liberty clause” of the state constitution means that a woman can abort her child without any meaningful oversight by the state to protect her health and safety or, where possible, the life of the unborn child.  That portion of the North Dakota Constitution states: “All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty . . .”

Most people reading this may ask why the right to life in the same sentence does not prevent this kind of ruling.  Apparently, the judge did not think that the right to life applied to every life.  For that reason, legislators responded with Measure 1, which would document what we had always thought – that the existing right to life applies to every human being at any stage of development.

The defeat of Measure 1 would have devastating consequences for our state.  It would mean that courts could decide that this expansive “liberty” right trumps the right to life, especially for the unborn, disabled, and depressed.  For abortion advocates from places like New York and California, this is exactly what they want.  They have already established expansive rights to abortions in about a dozen states, but never one based on a liberty clause – something every state constitution possesses.  For them, what the judge in Fargo gave them was the ultimate prize – a road map for securing an almost unlimited right to abortion in every state.

Montana illustrates what happens when state courts are given free reign to create abortion rights. The courts in Montana have struck down popular laws limiting taxpayer funding for abortions, requiring parental notice prior to a minor undergoing an abortion, requiring a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion, informed consent requirements, and even a law requiring that only a licensed physician perform an abortion.  But it does not stop there. A judge in Montana has concluded that the “right to abortion” found in the state constitution also provides a right to assisted suicide.

Surveys show that a majority of North Dakotans are pro-life.  Perhaps most Montanans are as well.  The difference between North Dakota and Montana is that abortion advocates were allowed to use the courts to block common-sense pro-life laws to protect unborn children, the sick and dying, and women’s health and safety.

These laws are part of the social fabric which build the culture of life in North Dakota.  They are part of what makes North Dakota such a great place to live. Let’s stop outside interests groups from destroying what North Dakotans have created.  Let’s pass Measure 1 this November.

Christopher Dodson, Executive Director, North Dakota Catholic Conference

Bishop Folda on Measure 1: Eminently Sensible and Deserves Support

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This column was originally printed in the September issue of New Earth, the newspaper for the Diocese of Fargo.

A Vote for Lifefargodiocese-bishopfolda-m

Bishop John T. Folda

This is a time of opportunity in the state of North Dakota. Right now, we have an opportunity to establish a culture of life in our state and even in our nation. Our state legislature voted last year to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, which is often called the Human Life Amendment. For very good reasons, our lawmakers believed this constitutional amendment was needed to protect the laws that already offer many protections for women and unborn children. The legislators were concerned that these common sense laws would be overturned by individual judges, and they were right. Some of our pro-life laws have already been overturned, and others are at risk. That is why the Human Life Amendment will be on the ballot this November as Measure 1.

The language of Measure 1 is simple and completely consistent with our understanding of the dignity of all human life. It reads, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” It would seem hard to argue with the simple, self-evident truth contained in those words. And, it is hard to imagine why such a clear affirmation of the value of life should be excluded from the constitutional principles that will shape our laws.

Although the proposed amendment is a legal statement, it is remarkably similar to the stated beliefs and teachings of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” (2270)  And, the Catechism goes on to say, “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.” (2273) Moreover, within this past year, Pope Francis tells us that “a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 213) The wording of Measure 1 is eminently sensible, and deserves the support of all persons who respect the right to life.

There are some who oppose the passage of Measure 1 who have grossly misconstrued its meaning and its possible consequences. One of the most significant mischaracterizations is the assertion that Measure 1 would interfere with end of life care and advance directives. In fact, a group of elder care experts have made it clear that Measure 1 will not affect end of life decisions, and will actually strengthen a person’s ability to stop third parties from denying them the care they need. And, keep in mind that the bishops of North Dakota and the North Dakota Catholic Conference have publicly and vigorously supported advanced directives and patient directed end-of-life care. I can assure you that the bishops of our state would never support Measure 1 if we believed it would jeopardize the rights of the elderly, the ill or the dying. It seems to me that some of the opponents of Measure 1 are simply using scare tactics to divert attention from the actual language and the real purpose of this proposed constitutional amendment. The facts can be found on the website www.NDChooseLife.org. I hope you will take a few moments to read what it has to say.

Some might argue that the Church and its pastors, including this bishop, should stay out of politics and should not tell people how to vote. But, the right to life is more than a matter of politics. It is a matter of truth and moral principle. Political activity shapes public policy, which is the concrete expression of ethics and morality, and affects the lives of all of us. Public policy decisions are too important to be divorced from morality, and the Church has always tried to bring her understanding of the eternal truths to bear on the shaping of culture and public life. For centuries, the Church has worked in the public square for justice, peace, the dignity of workers and the rights of the poor, the sick, the unborn and the elderly. This moment in the history of our state is no different. As some try to diminish the dignity of human life and its protection, the Church reaffirms her constant teaching that all human life is sacred. Pope Francis himself tells us, “An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 183)

As people of faith, we have a responsibility to work for the common good, and this must undoubtedly include working for the protection of life, the most fundamental good of all. Will we allow outside forces to impose a culture of death upon our state? We have a chance to keep this from happening. Don’t be afraid to stand up for life in a public way, and if you can, tell others about this important issue, or even volunteer to help with the campaign. Once again, this is a time of opportunity, and I hope you will join me in voting for Measure 1 this fall, so that our state of North Dakota might continue to move towards a culture of life.

 

Measure 1 – The Human Life Amendment Unites Faith Organizations Across North Dakota

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Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 4.33.46 PMBismarck, ND- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bismarck, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo and the North Dakota Catholic Conference were of the first  organizations of faith across North Dakota to stand up and endorse Measure 1 – The Human Life Amendment.

ND Choose Life announces several more organizations have united with the Dioceses in supporting Measure 1 with their endorsements. These include the North Dakota Knights of Columbus, the North Dakota District of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, St. Thomas More Society of North Dakota, Saint Gianna Maternity Home, St. Gerard’s Community of Care and North Dakota Catholic Physicians Group among many others.

“Organizations and churches across the state are uniting in support of Measure 1-The Human Life Amendment,” Myrdal continues, “We are thrilled to see so many heavy hitters standing to support the values of North Dakota as getting the truth to the faith community is critical.”

Measure 1 was placed on the November 4th ballot by a bipartisan majority of ND State Legislators. It reads, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

“We have some wonderful laws on the books such as ensuring that women are given full disclosure of information prior to an abortion, making sure parents are notified if their daughter is seeking an abortion, and prohibiting children who are partially born from being killed before their birth can be completed,” said Janne Myrdal, chairwoman of ND Choose Life. “This amendment will provide urgently needed legal protections in our state constitution to make sure our sensible laws to protect life, women, and families are upheld in the courts.”

ND Choose Life is a collaborative committee comprised of pro-life organizations across North Dakota working as one voice to pass Measure 1; the Human Life Amendment. The growing list of endorsements are available at www.ndchooselife.com/endorsements. For more information about ND Choose Life, go to www.ndchooselife.com.

Father Frank Pavone Stands in Support of Measure 1

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10647032_299745956877787_8112884592715035958_nBismarck, ND – Fr. Frank Pavone the National Director of Priests for Life and also the President of National Pro-life Religious Council announced today that he stands in support of the Human Life Amendment – Measure 1 in North Dakota.

“I have been proud to stand with the Roman Catholic bishops (Bishops Folda and Kagan) and pro-life people of North Dakota for many years, in many parts of the state, and I have seen their determination to protect the youngest and most defenseless children,” said Fr. Frank Pavone. “Now that determination manifests itself in the bipartisan, majority decision of the state legislature to place on the ballot the Human Life Amendment (Measure 1). Its designation is appropriate, because this amendment should be our number 1 priority for prayer and action.”

Measure 1 reads as “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

Fr. Frank Pavone further notes that, “Protecting children in their first months of existence is not optional; it is the duty of the state and of the family. I am confident that it is also the will of the people of North Dakota, and I urge them to help their fellow citizens rise to this occasion, seize this opportunity, and vote for this amendment.”

“Father Pavone joins the hundreds of religious leaders and organizations across North Dakota who have already expressed support for Measure 1, “ said Janne Myrdal, ND Choose Life Chairwomen. “Measure 1,  protects our very reasonable pro-life laws—and stops out-of-state groups like Planned Parenthood from getting a state judge to impose an unlimited right to abortion based on their interpretation of the state constitution, as recently occurred in Fargo.”

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and Mikey Hoeven Support Measure 1

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Bismarck, ND—ND Choose Life announced today that North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and former first lady Mikey Hoeven have announced their support for Measure 1—the Human Life Amendment—which was placed on the November ballot by a bi-partisan majority of the North Dakota Legislature.

“Mikey and I believe that it is important to protect life,” said Senator Hoeven.

As governor of North Dakota, Hoeven signed legislation that allowed women to see an ultrasound of their unborn child prior to an abortion, and legislation that required the abortion practitioner to inform women that “the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

“Senator Hoeven and Mikey Hoeven have a long track record of standing up for women and unborn children,” said Janne Myrdal, chairwoman of ND Choose Life.  “We are thankful for their strong pro-life voice, and greatly appreciate that he and Mikey have endorsed Measure 1—which will protect the common-sense pro-life laws passed in North Dakota,” Myrdal added.