human life amendment

Statement on Measure 1 Results: We are not disheartened

Statement on the Results on Measure 1:

We are, of course, disappointed with today’s results.  We are not, however, disappointed in how Catholics across the state joined with people of other faiths and no faith at all to fight for the culture of life in North Dakota.

Sadly, the opposition to Measure 1 relied solely on scare tactics and outright lies to confuse and frighten voters.  The No campaign, funded and directed by Planned Parenthood, refused throughout the campaign to debate supporters of the measure or provide explanations for its claims.  The people of North Dakota deserved better.

Measure 1 would have clarified that the state constitution does not contain an expansive right to abortion.  Unfortunately, the people of North Dakota were denied an honest and robust debate on that issue.  The cause of life and the need to address this fundamental question remain.

Although Measure 1 lost, we are not disheartened.  On the issue, we won.  The opponents basically conceded that this is a pro-life state by completely avoiding the importance of common sense pro-life laws. The loss of Measure 1 is not a setback.  In the last five years North Dakota has passed a record number of pro-life bills, only one of which has been struck down by the courts.

In short, the pro-life movement in North Dakota has never been stronger or more unified. We have truly been blessed by this experience.

Missouri Shows Us

Catholic Conference Applauds State Supreme Court Decision, Calls for Passage of Measure 1 to Settle Questions

The North Dakota Catholic Conference, acting on behalf of the state’s Catholic bishops, responded favorably to today’s ruling by the North Dakota Supreme Court and called on voters to decide the unresolved question of whether the state constitution contains a right to abortion.

Christopher Dodson, executive director of the conference stated: “This is a good day for the protection of women’s health and for affirming the right of elected officials to establish regulations to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions.” He noted, however, that the split decision by the court demonstrates “more than ever why North Dakotans must pass Measure 1 on November 4.”  He added: “The people of North Dakota have a right to decide this question before the abortion lobby comes back into the state to try again to strike down laws that even the U.S. Supreme Court has said we can pass.”

The North Dakota Catholic Conference submitted a friend of the court brief defending the law.

Dodson’s full statement follows.

Today the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed a ruling by Judge Wickham Corwin striking down the state’s regulation of abortion-inducing drugs.  We applaud the ruling. This is a good day for the protection of women’s health and for affirming the right of elected officials to establish regulations to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions.

Although Judge Corwin’s decision was reversed and the law passed in 2011 can now go into effect, the North Dakota Supreme Court did not resolve whether the North Dakota Constitution provides a right to abortion.  The court was evenly split on that question.

The split opinion demonstrates more than ever why North Dakotans must pass Measure 1 on November 4. The people of North Dakota have a right to decide this question before the abortion lobby comes back into the state to try again to strike down laws that even the U.S. Supreme Court has said we can pass.

Experts on Measure 1

Expert=knowledgeOpponents of Measure 1 have built their campaign on scare tactics unsupported by facts and law.  Experts have soundly refuted those claims.  Take some time to look at their conclusions.

Attorneys and Law Professors: Statement on Whether Measure One Would Ban Currently Legal Practices or Implicitly Repeal Existing Laws

Law Enforcement on Will Measure 1 Impact Women Who Suffer A Miscarriage or Pregnancy Emergencies?


Experts on End-of-Life Care: Statement on Misleading Representations About Measure 1 and End-of-Life Care Decisions

Examining Whether Measure 1 Will Impact In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Procedures and Pregnancy Complications in North Dakota

Attorneys Release Legal Analysis of Measure 1

“[A]ssertions by opponents of Measure 1 that it alone would ban currently legal acts, mandate government action, or repeal existing statutes are without merit. The claims are based on a flawed understanding of state constitutional law, violate basic rules of interpretation, would lead to absurd results, and fail to meet the North Dakota Supreme Court’s well-established criteria for considering a constitutional provision to be self-executing.”


It has been a busy few days.  First, physicians and other health care providers are speaking out in numbers in favor of Measure 1. Then the Minot Daily News endorses Measure 1.  And then former U.S. Attorney General refutes the “parade of horrors” coming out from the opposition to Measure 1.

In the midst of all that news you might have missed the fact that twenty-four attorneys and law professors released a statement on Measure 1 that explains in detail why Measure 1 is not self-executing and why the opponent’s claims are without merit.


It’s Time for a Second Opinion on Measure 1: Over 100 Physicians and Health Care Professionals Supporting Measure 1

And the list is growing!



GFH Letter: Christopher Dodson: Measure 1 opponent offers confused arguments

Christopher Dodson: Measure 1 opponent offers confused arguments

BISMARCK — Steven Morrison claims that if Measure 1 is not self-executing, so as to not impact in-vitro fertilization and end-of-life care, it cannot also prevent activist judges from creating a right to abortion in the state constitution (“Measure 1 supporters offer confused arguments,” Viewpoint, Page A4, Oct. 22). It looks like he is the one getting confused.

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 …” The clause is a classic example of a provision that is not self-executing. It states general objectives and principles for the constitution and not an enforceable rule. That did not, however, prevent a judge from interpreting the sentence to grant a right to abortion.

Morrison later submitted a brief urging the state Supreme Court to affirm the judge’s opinion. Apparently, a non self-executing provision cannot be used to interpret the constitution — except when it suits Morrison’s agenda.

Morrison’s assertions that the Arkansas and Missouri laws are different from Measure 1 are embarrassingly wrong. To begin with, he focuses on the wrong section of the Arkansas Constitution. The relevant section states: “The policy of Arkansas is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth …” The section is substantially similar to Measure 1. Secondly, he makes the rookie mistake of thinking that because the title of the amendment states “abortion” it must only be about abortion. Morrison must have forgotten that titles are not law.

He claims the Missouri law is different because it does not provide a cause of action for failure to provide prenatal care. True, but nor does Measure 1.

Getting the courts to find an almost unlimited right to abortion is the real agenda of many opponents of Measure 1, which is why the opposition is being funded almost entirely by the out-of-state abortion lobby. The claims about IVF and end-of-life care don’t hold up against legal scrutiny, and they are banking that the average voter will not realize that fact.

The truth is that Measure 1, like the Arkansas and Missouri provisions, cannot impact IVF, pregnancy care or end-of-life decisions. It can, however, like in Arkansas and Missouri, prevent our state’s laws from being re-interpreted to create an expansive right to abortion.

Dodson is executive director and general counsel of the North Dakota Catholic Conference.

ND Choose Life Launches New TV Ads Demonstrating Importance of Upholding Laws Protecting Women, Parents and Children

ND Choose Life, the broad-based coalition supporting Measure 1, today announced they have launched two powerful new television ads and a radio commercial featuring women who share their heartfelt experience with abortion and who testify about how important North Dakota’s existing laws are to women considering an abortion.

“Measure 1 doesn’t end abortion, but it does protect existing laws that give women important information about their pregnancy so that they have true informed consent when making a decision concerning abortion,” said Janne Myrdal, Chair of ND Choose Life. “These two women who have had abortions talk powerfully about how they would have benefitted at the time from having the laws we now have on the books, such as the right to an ultrasound, accurate information about fetal development and the opportunity for a 24 hour waiting period. These laws and all our pro-life laws are at risk of being overturned if Measure 1 fails.”

Carla spent much of her life in North Dakota and at age 24 became pregnant. After being told by a Minnesota abortion clinic that the fetus was “a clump of cells,” she had the abortion in Minnesota. She later found out that the fetus was well formed and not just disordered cells. That knowledge contributed to severe depression, including a suicide attempt. She says that she would have made a better decision if she had had the information that North Dakota now makes available to women about the gestational development of the fetus.

To view the ad, click here.

Kay spent most of her life in North Dakota. At age 19 she became pregnant and panicked. She felt that if she had an abortion before the fetus’ heart was beating, it would be ok. The abortion was performed at a clinic in Grand Forks. She explained that if she had had access to an ultrasound and a 24 hour waiting period, which current law in North Dakota provides to women, she would have realized that the heart was already beating and would have made a different decision, sparing her years of great emotional turmoil.

To view the ad, click here.

“Our elected officials put Measure 1 on the ballot to protect women from making a life-altering decision without having all the facts available,” Myrdal said. “These laws also protect parents by giving them notification that a minor daughter is seeking an abortion, and they promote patient safety by ensuring that only licensed physicians can perform abortions. Measure 1 is about protecting the laws we have on the books from being overturned in lawsuits financed by the outside abortion industry, which is spending over $1.4 million on false advertisements designed to deceive voters.”

Former U.S. Attorney General: Measure 1 No Parade of Horrors

In case you missed it, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft visited North Dakota yesterday to let voters know that Measure 1 would not result in the parade of horrors alleged by its opponents.

Prior to his service as the nation’s top legal officer, John Ashcroft served as a U.S. Senator, the Governor of Missouri, and the Attorney General of Missouri.  While governor he signed legislation that is substantively the same as Measure 1.

General Ashcroft, who came at the invitation of former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, told crowds in Bismarck and Fargo that none of the scary scenarios alleged by Measure 1’s opponents about IVF, end-of-life care, and treatment of pregnancy complications has come true in Missouri.  He also explained how Measure 1 was not “self-executing” and could not lead to what he called the “parade of horrors” created by the measure’s opponents.


Graphs Show Who is Behind the False Ads


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