Fargo, ND — Over the past several weeks, health care providers, former judges, prosecutors, doctors, lawyers, child advocates, victim advocates, religious leaders and social workers from all across the state joined together to help North Dakotans Against Measure Three raise awareness about the so called "Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment." Tonight, voters overwhelmingly rejected the measure.
Statement from Sarah Stoesz, President of the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund
“Planned Parenthood has been working in North Dakota for many years, and the health and well-being of North Dakota’s families is so important to us. Our deepest congratulations go to North Dakotans Against Measure Three for this victory.
“Tonight, North Dakotans — with a strong and clear NO vote — affirmed that religious liberty is securely protected in the U.S. Constitution. Measure Three was divisive, unnecessary and could have had dangerous consequences. Tonight’s vote protects state laws against child abuse or neglect, laws against domestic violence, laws that affect access to health care, including birth control, and laws that ensure equal opportunity in the workplace.
“We applaud North Dakotans Against Measure Three for working tirelessly to educate voters about the dangerous consequences this amendment could have had for women and families in the state.”
Medical Professionals Opposed Measure Three. Dr. Siri Fiebiger, Fargo-based Physician said, "I do everything I can to keep my patients healthy and safe. But measure three could prevent doctors from providing some lifesaving care. Three could mean anyone could claim ’faith healing’ as a reason to deny a seriously ill child the care they need." [NDAM3 ad, 5/22/12]
The North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services (NDCAWS) opposed Measure Three. In a press conference announcing their opposition, Janelle Moos, Executive Director of NDCAWS said, "North Dakota law is really clear — domestic violence is a crime and all offenders are treated equally under our current law. Under Measure Three an offender could claim that laws don't apply to them because his religion teaches him that he has the right to discipline his wife and his kids. Why should we treat that person any differently under the law if they commit a domestic violence crime?" [Press Conference, 5/31/12]
The North Dakota Women's Network opposed Measure Three. In a Forum of Fargo-Moorhead Op-ed, JoNell Bakke and Melissa Gillet, both board members with the North Dakota Women's Network, wrote, "Measure Three could lead to very serious, even harmful, consequences for women." They cited several legal concerns and worried that it would "delay the state's ability to protect women and children." [Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, 5/20/12]
Dangers too great for women and children. Former State Administrator for Child Protective Services, Gladys Cairns said, "Religious liberty is important to us all and it's already protected by both the US Constitution and the North Dakota State Constitution. We just don't need Measure Three, especially because the unintended consequences for women and children are too great." [NDAM3 press release, 5/31/12]
Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND) opposed Measure Three. In a press conference announcing their opposition, Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of PCAND said, "We are urging a 'no' vote on Measure 3 because it will seriously undercut protection for children in our state by opening the door for people to claim religious freedom as a justification for maltreatment." [Prairie Public Radio/NPR, 6/5/12]
Founded in 1992, the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. We mobilize supporters of all parties to defend and increase access to family planning services and fact based, medically accurate sexuality education.