James Kerian: Measure 1 Only Aims To Protect Against Abortion On Demand


In my discussions on Measure 1, I have heard opponents claim that the measure would/could ban IVF/medical research/contraception/DNRs/kittens/ice cream/etc., but I have yet to find someone making these claims who actually supports the existing North Dakota laws that Measure 1 was crafted to strengthen.

Opponents of Measure 1 might call themselves pro life but when asked they don’t support North Dakota’s law requiring that minors attain parental consent before having an abortion.  They don’t support North Dakota’s law requiring a 24 hour waiting period before performing an abortion.  They don’t support North Dakota’s law forbidding abortions that are performed for gender preference or because the unborn child has a disability.

They may call themselves pro life but when asked to name a single one of our state’s legal restrictions on abortion that they would support none of the Measure 1 opponents I have spoken with have been able to come up with anything.

There are doctors and lawyers opposing Measure 1 and they are heavily featured in the campaign’s TV ads but, again, these are selected from the handful of doctors and lawyers in the state who have always been supporters of the abortion industry and who are opposed to the limits that North Dakota has placed on abortion for many years.  Senator Heitkamp announced her opposition to Measure 1 this weekend with the typical far-fetched scare tactics but her record shows that she too has never seen a limit on abortion that she could support.

To be fair, not all of these people will advocate for “post-birth abortion” like the organization that has funded 95% of the anti-Measure 1 TV ads.  But they are proven supporters of abortion on demand without regard to reason or safety.

There are over one hundred physicians who have endorsed Measure 1 including both family practice doctors and OB/GYNs.  It’s clear to them that the only effect of Measure 1 is to increase constitutional protections for North Dakota’s current limits on abortion.

The measure has also been endorsed in a very thorough legal analysis by twenty-four attorneys and law professors as well as the former US Attorney General, John Ashcroft.  Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Lt Governor (and former US attorney) Drew Wrigley and former Governor Schafer have all endorsed Measure 1 and helped debunk the scare tactics of its opponents.

The measure, like almost everything else in the state constitution’s declaration of rights, is vague.  It is broad and general like the current statement in our constitution that guarantees the inalienable rights of “enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation; pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

The reason we don’t currently have lawyers running around trying to prosecute people for gossiping or for making other people unhappy is that, as the lawyers above have explained, the law doesn’t work that way. Constitutions lay out broad (vague) principles that support specific statuatory laws. So Measure 1 does not and cannot ban IVF/medical research/contraception/DNRs/kittens/ice cream/etc., but it can and does add additional constitutional support for the statuatory laws that the North Dakota legislature has enacted regarding the right to life.

These laws are at risk.  The abortion lobby that is funding the anti-Measure 1 TV ads has succeeded in overturning similar laws in other states and they are attempting to do the same thing here in North Dakota.  Just last week they narrowly failed in one such attempt at the ND Supreme Court.  If you oppose abortion on demand, if you support the limits that North Dakota has already placed on abortion, vote yes on Measure 1 today.