On Measure 1

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Measure 1  would amend North Dakota’s constitution to include the following: “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” North Dakotans will vote on this measure this coming Tuesday in the general election.

The lay of the land looks like this: Pro-lifers will vote for it, while those who describe themselves as pro-choice are probably not going to. The real question concerns those who would like to vote for it, but who are genuinely concerned about the wisdom of making changes to our state constitutional by initiated measure (which in my thinking should not be done lightly) and who are concerned about the law of unintended consequences.

It is this last that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups bankrolling “North Dakotans Against Measure 1” has exploited powerfully with a terrible parade of horribles. Supposedly Measure 1 could lead to the banning of in-vitro fertilization, legal problems surrounding miscarriage, and the overriding of advanced directives pertaining to end-of-life care.

This move is a red herring. It would be nice if the organized opponents of Measure 1 would just come clean and say, “Y’know, we think abortion is great, and we want to promote it, even among your minor children apart from your knowledge.” But seeking truthfulness from Big Abortion is futile, as we shouldn’t expect plain talk from those who engage in crimes against humanity. Hence the head-fakes.

The truth is Measure 1 is needed to protect pro-life laws we already have on the books, laws passed with bipartisan majorities (and over bi-partisan opposition). The legislature is responsible for placing Measure 1 on the ballot, to prevent judges like Wickham Corwin (who was disciplined thanks to his sexual harassment of a female employee) from inventing a right to abortion in the ND constitution (see here and here).

The choice Tuesday is between lies spread by the abortion industry, or life, deception or decency, corruption or common sense.

I append here something a friend without a blog has written in hopes of achieving its wider dissemination, as I agree with his thoughts:


Dear Friends and Families of North Dakota, I would like to explain why we should vote yes on Measure 1 on November 4th. We have a tremendous opportunity before us this upcoming election.  There are a number of measures that are signs of the coming times both in our state and in our country. The measures deal with civil rights, education, taxes, representation, environmental conservation, parental rights, and medical care. They reveal the scope of change taking place. Nevertheless, I think one of the most important is the first. I find it very critical simply because it points to who we are as a nation and as a state.  Why? Two familiar documents will answer this question— the Declaration of Independence and the North Dakota State Constitution. All of us are familiar with the following line from the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This line has continued to change our history as a nation. Its ideals created a magnetism that drew many of our ancestors and relatives to this country.

Now for the North Dakota State Constitution. Article one, section one, reads:

Section 1. All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation; pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness; and to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.

Notice that both the Declaration and the ND Constitution speak of inalienable rights. Both speak of life.

In measure 1, you find similar language.  In fact, it does not aspire to the full magnitude of the original Declaration of Independence, but it nevertheless moves to incorporate part of the Declaration of Independence into our own constitution as a state.  Here is Measure 1 and what you will see on the ballot:

Constitutional Measure No. 1

(Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4009, 2013 Session Laws, Ch. 519)

This constitutional measure would create and enact a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating,

“The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

YES – means you approve the measure stated above.

NO – means you reject the measure stated above. Notice the quote being proposed. I would like to break it into three parts.

First – “Inalienable right to life of every human being” Measure 1 speaks of the values articulated at the foundation of the United States of American in the Declaration of Independence. It uses the word “inalienable” and means the same thing.  It refers to “life” and means the same thing. Adding the phrase “of every human being” uses some of the language that we are familiar with today, hence it adds clarity. The word “life” in both the Declaration and in our state Constitution clearly refers to any human life, and not the life of a tree or a mouse. Even the focus on life is the same in the measure and the Declaration of Independence. Both refer to existence itself. In the ND constitution there is a slight difference of focus, since it points to the right to enjoy and protect life. Notice, however, that the focus of the ND constitution does not contradict the Declaration and the measure. An inalienable right to enjoy and protect life presumes the right to have it. Measure 1 introduces the contents of our Declaration of Independence directly into our Constitution. It adds clarity when you examine it in the location where it will be placed in our constitution.

Second – “at any stage of development.” This phase highlights the universal aspect of this inalienable right at any age. That is all. We all know that our ND Constitution and our Declaration applies the inalienable right to any human being. It does not matter whether our skin is black or white, whether we are a man or a woman, whether we are from the northern or from the southern hemisphere. And it does not matter what stage of life we are at. If we are a human being we have this inalienable right.

Third – “recognized and protected” The word “recognized” emphasizes something already implied in both the Declaration of Independence and in our ND Constitution. To “enjoy and defend life” presumes that we recognize it. Just a point of clarity is added, that is all. As for “protected,” how is that different than “defend?” No real difference there. So why add these two words, simply because what holds for enjoying and defending life also applies to the right to have that life as well. It adds clarity.

Perhaps as time goes on we could say more about liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well!

Why the fears?

Many have talked about the consequences of this measure. I would simply point out that speaking of inalienable rights and human life has no further consequences than does the Declaration of Independence and the ND Constitution. If the Declaration of Independence and the North Dakota Constitution do not have ramifications for IVF and end of life issues, then neither does Measure 1.

Please, I beg you to add this small but important clarification to our constitution. Vote yes on it. Human life is certainly an inalienable right, and it does not matter what our race might be, where we have grown up, or how old or young we are. And that is a good point to clarify. Being a better communicator is always a good thing, especially when it comes to a constitution, an immensely consequential document. Introducing something from our Declaration of Independence more directly into our state constitution is a good thing to do.

With kind regards to all of you,

David Fleischacker


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