As voters in North Dakota prepare to vote June 12 on several ballot measures — including one protecting religious freedom — they’ve found out exactly who has been donating large sums of money to defeat it.
The North Dakota Secretary of State’s office revealed today that a political arm of Planned Parenthood donated $103,687.94 to defeat Measure 3. According to the disclosure report, the Planned Parenthood MN ND SD Action Fund is one of only three entities in a group calling itself North Dakotans Against Measure 3. The other two are a mother and daughter in California who regularly give large donations to pro-abortion causes; they gave a combined $7,000. The Planned Parenthood action fund is based in Minnesota.
“A major portion of the $100,000 has gone into a barrage of ads that have been playing for the last two to three weeks all across the state,” said Tom Freier, executive director of the North Dakota Family Alliance Action. “Throughout the campaign, we have sought to put out the positive nature of the measure, why it’s needed — just restoring the religious liberties the Founding Fathers put out hundreds of years ago that we enjoyed until the 1990s. And all along, those that have opposed it have spoken mainly of the hypotheticals and what-ifs, including something as silly as saying men could beat their wives and parents could withhold medical attention for their children.”
Measure 3 seeks to restore protections for people of all faiths that were removed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1990s. The court ruled that governments do not need a “compelling” reason to interfere with individuals who exercise their faith so long as the government acts by way of so-called “neutral laws of general applicability”; since then, Congress and 27 other states have passed legislation or constitutional amendments restoring the compelling-interest test.
“Without the compelling interest, that religious freedom can be infringed on or encroached upon with very little reason,” Freier said. “This (report) tells us that the folks opposing our measure are not as interested in that First Amendment as in some other interest that only they know of. That causes us not to fear the passage of the measure, but really the motives of the people opposing it.”
Meanwhile, Measure 3 supporters have also raised about $100,000 — all from within the state, Freier said.
“That’s going to be very important for the prospective voters as they begin to think about this measure, with less than two weeks to go before the election,” he said. “While it does give a legitimate government interest in those very few cases where someone might attempt to use the cover of religion to do something that’s already against the law, it does not give a license to anyone to use it in that fashion.”
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Learn more about Measure 3.