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Shaw: Put abortion on the ND ballot

Shaw writes, "Let’s face it. There’s no way lawmakers in North Dakota will legalize abortion in at least the next 50 years. That would take a state legislature dominated by Democrats and a Democratic governor. That may never happen again. So, what do abortion rights activists have to lose by putting it on the ballot?"

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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It’s obvious that abortion will soon be outlawed in many states, including North Dakota. That leaked document of a draft Supreme Court opinion said it all. The landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion will soon be tossed out. Not to be overlooked is that four conservative Supreme Court justices lied about their thoughts concerning Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings.

So, each state will decide whether to allow legal abortions. That decision has already been made in North Dakota. The state legislature has passed a “trigger” law that will outlaw abortion when Roe is struck down. That in turn, will probably mean the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, will find a new location in Moorhead. That’s because abortion will remain legal in Minnesota for now.

I have another idea. Let’s legally settle this issue in North Dakota. Let North Dakotans vote on legalizing abortion. Put it on the ballot as a Constitutional measure. There’s a real chance it would pass.

Let’s face it. There’s no way lawmakers in North Dakota will legalize abortion in at least the next 50 years. That would take a state legislature dominated by Democrats and a Democratic governor. That may never happen again. So, what do abortion rights activists have to lose by putting it on the ballot?

The North Dakota Legislature is ultra conservative, but the state’s voters are surprisingly socially moderate. There are several measures in recent years that the out of touch legislature rejected, but North Dakota residents approved. They include allowing lotteries such as Powerball, banning smoking in public places, establishing an ethics commission, and approving the use of medical marijuana.

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However, the big indicator was state Constitutional Measure Number One in 2014, commonly called, “The Personhood Measure.” That anti-abortion effort stated that, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

The intent of that measure was very clear. It was also trounced at the ballot box. In supposedly conservative North Dakota, 64% of the voters rejected the measure, while only 36% supported it.

Some people who claim to be against abortion, are secretly for giving people that choice. Of course some people who claim to be against Donald Trump are secret supporters of him.

The anti-abortion phonies include Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who is also a physician. DesJarlais has a long anti-abortion record. However, records from his divorce trial revealed that he supported his ex-wife’s decision to have two abortions, and he had an affair with a 24-year-old patient, and urged her to have an abortion.

There was also anti-abortion former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania, who resigned after it was reported that he pressured his mistress to have an abortion.

From a moral standpoint the abortion issue will never be resolved, but with a vote we would at least get a legal answer. So, let’s see how North Dakotans really feel about this issue.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JIM SHAW
"Despite having to run a university hit with massive budget cuts and the loss of dozens of faculty members, NDSU achieved an impressive record under Bresciani's watch," writes InForum columnist Jim Shaw.

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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