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June 12, 2012

North Dakota Voters Reject Far-Reaching Ballot Measure

Victory marks 10th pro-choice win on a ballot measure since 2005

Washington, D.C.  – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the coalition of pro-choice allies and North Dakota-based groups that succeeded in mobilizing voters to reject Measure 3, an anti-choice ballot initiative.

"Tonight's victory belongs to the people of North Dakota who stood up for religious freedom by defeating the divisive Measure 3. This ballot measure could have allowed discrimination and health-care refusals and tied up the state in costly legal battles," Keenan said. "The message to anti-choice groups is clear: voters are tired of your divisive attacks that undermine the fundamental American values of freedom and privacy."

This measure could have allowed a man to claim that domestic-violence and child-abuse laws don't apply to him because his religion tells him he has the right to discipline his wife and children as he sees fit. Measure 3 could also have let bosses try to claim they can use their religious beliefs to discriminate against their female employees by denying contraceptive coverage.  Keenan said the threats of similar measures will likely continue and predicts the public's awareness will only heighten.

"We couldn't be more proud of the work done in North Dakota and the voters who stood up for fairness and privacy, "Keenan said. "Just last November, voters in Mississippi defeated an extreme ‘personhood' initiative, and the defeat of Measure 3 is another example of how these anti-choice measures are out of touch with our American values and priorities."

To help defeat this divisive measure, the organization joined ND Healthy Families Opposing Measure 3 and sent a team of staff to mobilize member activists in North Dakota. The work included voter contact and canvassing done in partnership with the state-based campaign. It also hosted phone banks with Choice USA, Feminist Majority, and the National Organization for Women that reached numerous households.  NARAL Pro-Choice America also launched a nationwide public-education campaign through its 500,000-strong email list and 80,000 followers on social media regarding similar anti-choice threats emerging in other parts of the country.

The win in North Dakota marks the 10th pro-choice victory out of the 11 ballot measures affecting reproductive rights that have appeared before voters since 2005. This list includes the defeat of two abortion bans in South Dakota and a so-called "personhood" amendment last November in Mississippi.

Paid for by ND Healthy Families Opposing Measure 3.

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