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A Response Regarding “Abortion Amendment Disaster” on 9/22

I’ve heard scary things about Measure 1, the proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot this November. One story was that Measure 1 could lead to criminal charges being filed against women who suffer miscarriages. Other folks are saying that  Measure 1 means that the state could control end-of-life decisions. I read that Measure 1 might mean that people could be forced against their will to be organ donors.

This sounds like a horror movie coming to life!

Why would anybody support Measure 1 if all of these terrible possibilities are true? I certainly wouldn’t. I decided to investigate to educate myself and to find out if these awful stories are true or not. Turns out, they’re not.

What does Measure 1 actually say? “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” That’s the whole thing. One sentence. Not confusing, and not very scary.

What is Measure 1? It’s a constitutional amendment, not a statute. A constitutional amendment doesn’t govern me or you — it governs the state we live in. Measure 1 doesn’t tell individuals what they can or can’t do; it tells the State of North Dakota what it can and can’t do. That means Measure 1 doesn’t touch the authority we have to make decisions about our lives. It also means that all the nightmare scenarios from Measure 1 opponents aren’t true.

What effect will Measure 1 have? Interestingly, this amendment doesn’t change a single current law in North Dakota. Measure 1 protects the laws that North Dakotans have already encouraged their elected officials to pass. Measure 1 makes sure that North Dakotans and their elected legislators remain in charge of which laws are passed to govern us.

That’s no horror story — that’s a good thing!

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