It’s interesting, and also telling, that the debate over Measure 1 has focused less on abortion than on supposed side-effects of the constitutional amendment such as the shut-down of IVF clinics and the complication of end-of-life issues.
This was a smart move by the anti-Measure 1 activists. If the debate was squarely focused on the question of abortion, there would be no question about the amendment passing. North Dakota is a solidly pro-life state. But muddy the waters about issues like IVF, and suddenly the outcome becomes much less certain.
And the anti-Measure 1 activists have chosen wisely in who is throwing the mud in the water. They’ve leaned heavily on doctors and legal scholars to make their case. But now the pro-Measure 1 activists are firing back. Recently former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft visited the state to talk about Measure 1. He is uniquely qualified, not only as one of the most accomplished lawyers in the nation, but also as the former Attorney General for the State of Missouri which passed similar legislation. Ashcroft, flanked by former Governor Ed Schafer, gave a detailed rebuttal of the legal fear-mongering about Measure 1 this last week:
As to the medical implications, the pro-Measure 1 activists have assembled a coalition including dozens of doctors and health care professionals – over 80 by last count, and they tell me the list is growing – from around North Dakota who endorse Measure 1.
They’re running newspaper ads listing the doctors. See the ad that will appear in Fargo below.
I think Measure 1 is going to be a close thing. The anti-crowd has been very effective in manufacturing doubt about end-of-life issues, IVF, and even the impacts on contraception (a close friend contacted me over the weekend asking if I’d heard that Measure 1 would outlaw all contraception including condoms!). And this rebuttal to that doubt-mongering is coming late in the game, especially given that early voting has been going on for weeks.
But this was a smart move by the Measure 1 folks.