Bismarck, ND — Tonight, North Dakota voters rejected a dangerous measure which was intended to ban abortion and if passed, would have put the government in the middle of a woman’s most personal health care decisions. Working in coalition as North Dakotans Against Measure 1; Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund; ACLU of North Dakota; and Red River Women's Clinic ran a robust campaign to educate North Dakotans about the dangerous consequences for women and families if this measure passed. This was alongside critical outreach efforts by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Feminist Majority Foundation and others.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
From North Dakota to Mississippi to Colorado, the vast majority of voters in this country want women to make their own personal medical decisions without government interference. North Dakotans Against Measure 1, with significant support from Planned Parenthood organizations and our coalition partners, worked tirelessly to ensure that North Dakotans knew that women’s health was on the ballot in this election. Once voters learned how dangerous this measure could be for women’s access to safe and legal abortion and other health care, they rejected it soundly.”
The measure, if it had been approved, would have amended the state constitution to provide for the “inalienable right to life” for humans at any stage of development. While the language was vaguely-worded, the politicians and special interest groups behind this dangerous measure made it clear that their goal was to end access to safe, legal abortion in North Dakota.
Time and again, when they are forced to cast a vote on a ballot measure on women’s health, the public votes to ensure health decisions are left to a woman in consultation with her family and her doctor — not the government.
Last November, voters in Albuquerque rejected legislation seeking to ban abortions at 20 weeks by a decisive 10 points, showing that voters don’t want to take personal medical decisions out of the hands of women and their doctors.
In 2011, voters in Mississippi overwhelmingly rejected a “personhood” initiative by a margin of 16 points. This measure could have banned all safe, legal abortion.
Colorado voters have rejected personhood three times by approximately 70 percent of the vote, in 2008, 2010 and 2014. If passed, these measures could have banned all abortions and criminalized Colorado doctors.
“Personhood” supporters in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, California and Montana failed to get enough signatures to get on the November 2012 ballot, as did Oregon voters in 2010 and Ohio voters in 2013.
By a 10-point margin in November 2012, voters in Florida defeated Amendment 6, which if enacted would have banned public insurance from covering abortion, even if it was necessary to protect a woman’s health.
In 2012, North Dakota voters defeated Measure Three by nearly 30 points. This dangerous measure could have allowed health care providers to refuse to provide health care to patients based on their religious beliefs.
Similarly, the defeat of ballot measures that would have banned nearly all abortions in South Dakota in 2006 and 2008 shows that voters stand with women and their personal decision making in the privacy of the ballot box.