The Center for Reproductive Rights urges voters to reject anti-choice ballot measures in Colorado, North Dakota, and Tennessee.
This Election Day, November 4, three states will be voting on ballot initiatives that would dangerously restrict access to legal abortion services. Here’s what’s at stake and what you can do.
The Center for Reproductive Rights strongly opposes Amendment 67, which would amend the Colorado constitution to define a “person” to include “unborn human beings.” While the measure may be motivated by a sincere desire to protect pregnant women and punish those who harm their pregnancies, the result of it will be to ban abortions in Colorado with no exceptions. Amendment 67 could also ban many forms of contraception and assisted reproductive technologies, like in vitro fertilization. You don’t have to look further than Amendment 67’s most vocal supporters to learn the true intent of the measure—they are advocating for the complete obliteration of abortion rights in our country.
There is no question that those who have injured a pregnant woman should be brought to justice and punished for harming or ending the pregnancy as well. But the best way to combat violence against pregnant women is to increase the penalties for the crime against the woman—not by eliminating women’s access to abortion, which is plainly unconstitutional and unquestionably harms women’s health. For these reasons, the Center strongly opposes Amendment 67 and encourages Colorado voters to vote No on this measure on November 4, 2014. For more information, visit Vote No 67 at www.voteno67.com.
The Center for Reproductive Rights strongly opposes Measure 1, which would dangerously restrict North Dakotans’ constitutional rights and access to reproductive health care. Measure 1 is a vaguely worded, permanent change to the State Constitution that would impact North Dakotans seeking a range of reproductive health care services including contraception, fertility assistance, and abortion. Measure 1 is designed by its backers to ban abortion in North Dakota for all women, including women whose pregnancies result from rape or incest or put their life or health at risk, and this measure extends far beyond access to abortion. Measure 1 also could ban access to common forms of birth control women and families rely on, make it impossible for couples to receive standard medical treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF), and limit a doctor’s ability to care for women with crisis conditions during pregnancy, putting women’s lives and health at risk. Furthermore, the ballot measure would have real and far-reaching effects on end of life plans like living wills and do not resuscitate orders.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that constitutional rights do not extend to fetuses or embryos and that neither courts nor legislatures can ban abortion prior to fetal viability. In North Dakota, a state with only one abortion provider and a history of legislative attempts to curtail reproductive rights, it is crucial that North Dakotans vote “No” on Measure 1. The constitutional rights of North Dakota women should not be subject to debate at the ballot box. Voters should send a clear message that a woman’s private health care decisions should not be subject to government interference by rejecting Measure 1. For more information, visit North Dakotans Against Measure 1 at www.ndam1.org.
The Center for Reproductive Rights strongly opposes Amendment 1, which seeks to amend the Tennessee constitution to provide that “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” Amendment 1 is intended to reverse a Tennessee Supreme Court decision holding that the state constitution provides strong protections for a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. If approved, Tennessee would join only one other state whose constitution contains this extreme language. Contrary to proponents’ claims, Tennessee law contains many restrictions on abortion access, including a requirement that abortion providers have local hospital admitting privileges and other medically unnecessary targeted regulations of abortion providers, restrictions on the administration of medication abortion, parental involvement requirements for minors seeking abortion, and discriminatory bans on insurance coverage for abortion.
If approved, this measure would limit women’s privacy rights under the state constitution and further restrict women’s access to reproductive health care in the state. It is more important than ever to retain Tennessee’s strong constitutional right to abortion now, when access to safe abortion care is crumbling across the South. For these reasons, the Center strongly opposes this proposed amendment, and encourages Tennessee voters to vote No on Amendment 1 on November 4, 2014. For more information, visits www.voteno1tn.org.