Devyn Nelson: Measure 1 Will Have No Impact On Contraception, IVF, Or End Of Life Issues


Lloyd Omdahl’s analysis of Measure 1 bears no relationship to reality. He ascribes a strange theological explanation of why Christians support Measure 1 that has nothing to do with why Measure 1 is on the ballot, and then he mischaracterizes the issue to boot, putting forth talking points from opponents of Measure 1 that have been discredited by independent experts.

Measure 1 will have no impact on contraception, IVF procedures, or end-of-life issues. It does not ban abortion, nor does it change any law on abortion. It is not on the ballot because of theology.

As just one example of the inaccuracy of Mr. Omdahl’s talking points from opponents, let’s look at end-of-life issues. Claims that Measure 1 would impact things like advance health care directives, living wills and Do Not Resuscitate orders were first made by Steve Morrison, an associate professor at UND just six years out of law school. They were immediately echoed by Dina Butcher. Both are with North Dakotans Against Measure 1, the leading opponents to this proposal. Both are abortion advocates. Morrison was a party to a brief asking the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that created essentially an unlimited right to abortion. Butcher is an abortion lobbyist. Neither of these people have ever been involved in elder care issues. Meanwhile, fourteen experts in end of life care issues — including many who have pioneered the use of health care directives, living wills and DNR orders – have compiled a report making clear that Measure 1 will not impact any of these issues.

Measure 1 was put on the ballot by our legislators because out-of-state groups are trying to overturn laws that are passed by our elected officials in the North Dakota state legislature. This happened last year in Fargo when a state judge created a right to abortion in the state constitution, and used that to overturn a law designed to protect women. Measure 1 will stop them – a fact not even mentioned by Mr. Omdahl. The judge’s ruling to overturn the North Dakota’s laws went beyond how most states interpret the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, and would threaten even common sense abortion laws like parental notification and conscience protection for health care workers. Indeed, every abortion law on the books is at risk.

Measure 1 is on the ballot to stop outsiders from using our courts to impose a radical view of abortion. It has nothing to do with religious theology, and everything to do with making sure that North Dakota’s laws are controlled by our elected officials, not judges who act at the behest of outside groups.