To: Senate Human Services Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: HCR 3015 - Opposition to Freedom of Choice Act
Date: March 17, 2009

The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports House Concurrent Resolution 3015 to express the North Dakota Legislative Assembly’s opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act.

Some people may argue that the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will never come up for a vote in the U.S. Congress or that the bill does not have enough support in the current Congress to secure passage. Even if those claims are correct, however, we cannot ignore two fundamental facts. First, perhaps never before have we seen such an effort erode protections for the unborn, women, and religious liberty. Second, FOCA is an unprecedented attack on state’s right and will of the people of North Dakota.

Should FOCA pass in its current form, it would jeopardize or eliminate eighteen state laws and policies. These laws protect women’s health, respect the rights of parents, protect the conscience of health care providers, place common-sense limits on abortion, and ensure that taxpayers are not forced to fund actions they find morally objectionable. Moreover, studies demonstrate that these types of laws actually work to reduce abortion.

The people of North Dakota have shown that they care about human life, the health of women, parental rights and involvement, and religious liberty. FOCA would disrespect the wishes of North Dakotans by wiping away years of good work and by preventing the state from moving forward in respecting human rights. The North Dakota Legislative Assembly should express its opposition to FOCA, any similar legislation, and any other effort to infringe upon our state’s right to protect human life and religious liberty.

We urge a Do Pass recommendation on HCR 3015.

List of State Laws

FOCA would eliminate or jeopardize the following North Dakota laws and state programs:

  • Parental Involvement Before a Minor gets an Abortion (14-02.1-03.1)
  • Informed Consent Requirements (14-02.1), under which a woman must be told:
    • The name of the physician who will perform the abortion;
    • The medical risks associated with the abortion;
    • The gestational age of the unborn child;
    • That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;
      • That the father is liable to assist in the support of her child;
      • That she can view materials on fetal development; and
      • That she can have materials on assistance and alternatives to abortion
  • Protection for Health Care Providers from Being Forced to Participate in an Abortion (23-16-14)
  • The Alternatives to Abortion Program
  • Requirement that Abortions be Performed by Licensed Physicians (14-02.1-04)
  • Ban on Partial-Birth Abortion (14-02.6)
  • Ban on abortion referrals by school employees (15.1-19-06)
  • Restrictions on Use of Tax Money for Abortions (14-02.3-01)
  • Required Waiting Period Before an Abortion (14-02.1)
  • Restrictions on Post-Viability Abortions (14-02.1)
  • Requirement to Protect a Viable Fetus Born Alive (14-02.1-08)
  • State Policy of Favoring Childbirth Over Abortion (14-02.3-01)
  • Restriction on the Use of Public Funds for the Referral, and Encouragement of Abortion (14-02.3-02)
  • Restriction on Payment for Abortions in Health Insurance Policies (14-02.3-03)
  • Prohibition on a Health Care Agent’s Ability to Order an Abortion on an Incapacitated Person (23-06.5-03)
  • Abortion Reporting Requirements (14-02.1-07)
  • Ban on “Reproductive Cloning” (12.1-39)
  • “Trigger” Ban on Abortion passed in 2007 session.