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Steven Morrison: Measure 1 supporters offer confused arguments

GRAND FORKS -- Have you noticed the latest confused arguments of Measure 1 supporters? They seem to change every day. Now, we're told that Measure 1 is not self-executing, so it won't have any legal effect. We're also told that Arkansas and Misso...

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Steven Morrison

 

 

 

GRAND FORKS - Have you noticed the latest confused arguments of Measure 1 supporters? They seem to change every day.

Now, we’re told that Measure 1 is not self-executing, so it won’t have any legal effect. We’re also told that Arkansas and Missouri have similar laws to Measure 1 and in vitro fertilization is legal there, so Measure 1 won’t end it.

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It looks like Measure 1 supporters want Herald readers to vote yes because the amendment won’t do anything at all. But their confused message is based on legal absurdity and outright misstatements.

As to absurdity, how can it be that an amendment is not self-executing, and so will not affect end of life care, IVF and a whole panoply of other rights, but will protect us against so-called activist judges?

The answer is easy: It can’t. Either Measure 1 is self-executing, meaning that it could end the use of living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders and IVF; or it’s not self-executing, meaning that these much-maligned “activist” judges will not be limited by it in any way.

As to the outright misstatements, proponents claim that Arkansas and Missouri have laws similar to Measure 1, and IVF is available in those states, so there’s no need to worry.

The only problem is that Arkansas and Missouri do not have any laws similar to Measure 1. Arkansas’ Amendment 68 is entitled “abortion,” and provides that the state will not pay for any abortion except to save the mother’s life. The plain language of Arkansas’ amendment means that it unequivocally does not touch IVF or end-of-life care.

Missouri’s statute, while declaring that “life begins at conception,” also provides “no cause of action for” failure to provide prenatal care.

How else do we know that Measure 1 is different?

Because all of North Dakota’s IVF doctors have said they will have to stop performing IVF if Measure 1 passes.

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Because the North Dakota Medical Association opposes it.

Because AARP has expressed its concerns regarding Measure 1’s impact on end-of-life care.

Because Sen. Margaret Sitte, who introduced Measure 1, said that its prohibition on living wills “might come about later.”

I’m voting no on Measure 1 because it will threaten many of the liberties that North Dakotans now enjoy.

Morrison is an assistant professor at the UND School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law. The views expressed here are his alone and are not necessarily those of UND or its School of Law.

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