Center for Reproductive Rights Statements on 2014 Anti-Choice Ballot Initiative Results

(PRESS RELEASE) The Center for Reproductive Rights issued the following statements on the defeat of anti-choice ballot measures in Colorado and North Dakota and passage of an anti-choice constitutional amendment in Tennessee. 

Colorado

Colorado Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Measure Intended to Ban Abortion in the State

Colorado voters have resoundingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment intended to ban abortion in Colorado. Amendment 67—which would have amended the Colorado constitution to define a “person” to include “unborn human beings”—would have also threatened to ban some forms of contraception and fertility treatments, as well as potentially criminalize both women in crisis pregnancy situations and reproductive health care providers.

Amendment 67—known as the “Brady Amendment” after a tragic case of a woman losing her pregnancy after being in a car crash with a drunk driver—was strongly supported by Personhood USA, the same extreme group that has advocated for the failed, so-called “personhood” measures on the Colorado ballot in 2008 and 2010.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Voters in Colorado have, for the third time, seen through an attempt to advance an extreme measure that wouldn’t just ban abortion, but potentially throw women and their doctors behind bars for obtaining or providing many basic reproductive health care services including contraception and fertility treatments.

“Pregnant women have a right to and deserve safe, healthy pregnancies, yet the politicians and anti-choice groups responsible for this measure have been cynically using a tragedy to strip women of their constitutional rights."

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North Dakota

North Dakota Voters Reject Dangerous and Extreme Measure Designed to Cut off Access to Reproductive Health Care 

The Center for Reproductive Rights applauds voters in North Dakota for rejecting Measure 1—a vaguely worded, permanent change to the State Constitution that would have severely threatened a range of essential reproductive health care services in the state, including abortion and some forms of contraception and fertility treatments.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Today’s victory at the North Dakota ballot box is yet another in a long history of voters from different political backgrounds and personal philosophies rejecting these extreme and unconstitutional ballot measures.

“North Dakota women are already subject to some of the most extreme abortion restrictions in the country, promoted by politicians hell-bent on choking off reproductive health care options until women have nowhere left to turn. 

“North Dakotans have rejected this dangerous amendment that could have banned essential reproductive health care services like contraception, safe abortion and fertility treatments. The voters have sent a loud and clear message: women know what’s best for their lives, their health, and their futures.  It’s time for North Dakota politicians to remember that message when they return to the capital for a new session in January.”

The North Dakota legislature has already passed some of the most extreme abortion restrictions in the country, many of which are currently being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Red River Women’s Clinicthe sole abortion provider in the state.  The state’s six week ban on abortion was permanently blocked in April 2014 by a federal district court judge and a medically unnecessary requirement that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles was settled earlier this year.  Just last week, the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld the state’s law severely restricting access to medication abortion, effectively denying women access to an alternative to surgical abortion widely recognized as safe and effective by medical experts and organizations worldwide

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Tennessee

Tennessee Voters Approve Radical Constitutional Amendment Designed to Strip Women of Abortion Rights

Tennessee voters have approved a proposed constitutional amendment that strips the state constitution of its current protections for a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, becoming only the second state in the U.S. to include such extreme anti-choice language in its state constitution.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“In a region already devastated by underhanded abortion restrictions, Tennessee has stood up for women by providing strong constitutional protections for their reproductive rights. 

“This constitutional amendment kicks open the door for Tennessee politicians to do what far too many of their neighboring colleagues have done over the last several years and run roughshod over women’s rights and health.

“We call on the Governor and state legislature to consider the devastating impact restrictions on safe, legal abortion care have had on countless women in states like Mississippi and Texas before imposing similarly underhanded and harmful restrictions in Tennessee.”

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