Measure 3 fundraising nears $1 million

BISMARCK— Planned Parenthood is the biggest backer of a campaign against Measure 3, contributing to a financial advantage of more than half a million dollars over the measure’s supporters.

Nearly $1 million in campaign contributions has gone into the debate over whether North Dakota’s Constitution needs a religious liberty restoration amendment, according to campaign finance reports frequently updated to reflect additional money on both sides.

As of Tuesday, North Dakotans Against Measure Three received nearly $700,000 worth of contributions. Planned Parenthood contributed about $650,000 worth of support. Reports indicate $380,400 was through in-kind donations.

The Planned Parenthood contributions come from across the country, but about $610,400 worth is from Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota based in St. Paul.

In comparison, the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Committee raised $103,200 this year to support the measure. The Catholic Diocese of Fargo gave $20,666, while the Catholic Diocese of Bismarck and North Dakota Catholic Conference each gave $10,666.

A $20,000 contribution came from Colorado-based Citizen Link, described on its website as “a family advocacy organization that inspires men and women to live out biblical citizenship that transforms culture.”

Most of the financing to support Measure 3 comes from within the state, said Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance, which gave $10,000 in May.

“No matter how many hundreds of thousands of dollars out-of-state organizations like Planned Parenthood would attempt to interject, I’m very hopeful North Dakotans will not be bought,” Freier said.

Tom Fiebiger, a Fargo-based civil rights attorney and chairman of North Dakotans Against Measure Three, said it isn’t accurate to say out-of-state money is trying to buy the election.

“I think that’s sort of a simplistic way to make a complicated issue simple and to say, ‘So, you should vote for it because of that,’ ” Fiebiger said. “I think it just shows how much is at stake and that’s why there’s this investment.”

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota is a North Dakota organization and one of many concerned about the measure, spokeswoman Jen Aulwes said. In-kind contributions include staff time from Planned Parenthood affiliates concerned about the precedent Measure 3 sets, she said.

“We’re particularly concerned that it could affect any number of laws, including laws meant to protect civil rights, laws against discrimination and abuse, health care laws,” she said.

Planned Parenthood was approached by a number of organizations and individuals to get involved since it has experience with ballot measures in other states, she said.

“All of the individuals and organizations who have spoken out on behalf of the ‘No on Measure 3’ campaign are North Dakotans who are simply concerned about the dangers that Measure 3 poses,” Aulwes said. “All of them are folks who understand the importance of religious liberty and understand that it’s already protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

Planned Parenthood and its allies apparently feel Measure 3 stands in the way of its agenda in North Dakota, said Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference.

“I think it’s unfortunate Planned Parenthood and its affiliates around the country are sinking money into North Dakota to try to stop religious freedom for North Dakotans,” he said.

North Dakotans will vote on the measure on June 12.

What is Measure 3?

See the measure below and read today’s story in The Forum.

Measure 3 would amend the North Dakota Constitution by adding this wording:

“Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.”

14 thoughts on “Measure 3 fundraising nears $1 million

  1. I don’t like this proposed amendment for two reasons. 1) Religious liberty is already guaranteed, why do we need to amend the sate constitution to guarantee it again? There should be a high bar for amending the constitution, there’s no need to do it in this case because we already have very strong protections of religious freedom 2) ‘religious organization’s religious liberty’ sounds like more “corporations are people too” nonsense. People are people.

  2. One thing is sure about Measure 3, we don’t know what it means or where it will take us. Those promoting it have not provided one single example of what might be affected. They don’t provide this because they know it would be unpopular if people knew.
    Let’s say parents severly beat their child. They do it for sincerely held religious beliefs as the measure states. The State then needs to go to court to justify inserting itself into the circumstances and taking the child away? Measure 3 is just plain nuts.

      • Really? This is actually the single most evil thing proposed in this country. It would mean I could found the church of “stab everyone and take their stuff,” stab everyone and take their stuff, then have it be constitutionally protected.

  3. I hope Measure 3 passes. Churches could be sued by groups like the ACLU for “hate speech” if they say anything that might “offend” someone else. 27 other states have passed similar measures and ND needs to do the same thing.

  4. I hope measure 3 passes it will definite restore religious liberty back to where it used to be years ago . What happened to majority rules and had to tolerate and not accept the minority and having to be politically correct has gone way to far. Government is way to big when organizations and individuals are forced to provide services against their beliefs. Obamacare is just that government forcing us against or will. Let the abortion supporters find funding from someone else beside from my taxpaying pocket. I have always said if you want to get someone’s attention go after the money and the minority organizations are running scared.

    • No. This won’t “restored religious liberty” it will destroy society. You know? Never mind that. I’m founding the church of Me. It’s sole tenet its that I can do whatever I want. In fact, that’s what it’s dedicated to. Then I’ll move to North Dakota and start stealing, murdering, and burning my way across the state in an act of pure unmitigated freedom. See what this lets people do? Why should we protect the delusions of the few (the religious right) at the expense of human beings.

  5. I agree with JBC-MN. The extreme, hyberole positions that people against Measure 3 rely on (beating wives, killing children in some religious sacrifice, etc…) certainly fit in the “compelling governmental interest” section of the law. The question you need to ask is this (in my view): do you want to include a bit more protection against government intrusion? If you value individual freedom, almost anything which makes it harder for the government to get involved in your life is a good thing.

  6. Since Planned Parenthood is “investing” big bucks into this issue, they must be scared of something.

    My concern is if medical staff (nurse, doctor, etc.) are required to perform abortions, sterilizations, etc. could not , because of their conscience. Will they be fired?

    ObamaCare is coming. You know abortion, sterilization, contraceptives and probably even euthanasia will be on the agenda, forcing doctors and nurses to provide these services.

    • If your religion means you can’t do your job, get a new job. God has no place in a civilized society. At all. He is a lie, and we must seek truth, uncomfortable as it may be.

  7. Herald Fan: yes, a person who does not comply with the requirements of their employer COULD be fired. In fact, the Supreme Court case that set the language of Measure 3 (Sherbert v. Verner, 1963) had that exact situation. A woman was fired because she refused to work on her sabbath. The Supreme Court ruled that while it was OK to be fired in that case, the gov’t couldn’t deny unemployment benefits from her because of her religious convictions.

    Jon Lindgren: look up Religious Freedom Restoration Act on wikipedia, and you’ll find out exactly what the language in the measure means. The 4 basic aspects of the measure (burden, sincerely held belief, compelling interest, and least restrictive means) are all specifically there because of the above-mentioned Sherbert v. Verner case, and the RFRA entry in wikipedia gives you all the info you need to know about the history of free exercise jurisprudence, including why Measure 3 is necessary (1998, City of Boerne v. Flores – RFRA only applies to federal law, not state/local law). Measure 3 is what’s known as a “mini-RFRA” – i.e., it’s a state version of the federal protections we have under RFRA.

  8. YesOn3,
    I think you’re on the right track concerning Sabbath observance, etc. This is a central reason I’ve been in favor of Measure 3. Religious minorities (such as myself) actually have the most to lose if Measure 3 fails.

  9. Pingback: Planned Parenthood leading opponent of religious liberty initiative in North Dakota | News of Life and Death

  10. Pingback: Planned Parenthood leading opponent of religious liberty initiative in North Dakota | Catholic Canada

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