Former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft was in North Dakota today, at press conferences in Bismarck and Fargo, to clarify some of the effects of Measure 1 should it pass.
Ashcroft has extensive knowledge about this issue. As Governor of Missouri, Ashcroft signed a piece of legislation with similar wording to Measure 1 into law. The Missouri law states, "the laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development, all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this state."
Ashcroft noted that the Missouri law and Measure 1 have the same effect. They both are there to guide us in our interpretation of other laws. Ashcroft noted that none of the "horrors" that are touted by those in opposition to Measure 1 have any basis in reality. In Missouri, after the law was signed into effect, IVF treatments were never curtailed; IVF is still being practiced in Missouri today; and that IVF will continue to be available in North Dakota.
Ashcroft, who argued pro-life laws before the Supreme Court of the United States as the former chief attorney for the United States government, went on to state that enshrining principles like Measure 1 into a state constitution is something that has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States previously (as was seen with the Missouri law).
Ashcroft stated that end of life issues would not be affected by the passing of Measure 1; something that those in opposition to Measure 1 have made wild accusations about.
When asked about whether or not women who have had abortions could be prosecuted under Measure 1, Ashcroft stated clearly that as a constitutional amendment that is not self-executing, Measure 1 does not allow for any prosecution at all. He stated that not only will there be no prosecution of anybody, but that there cannot be prosecution as a result of Measure 1.
We thank Attorney General Ashcroft for coming to North Dakota and setting the record straight on Measure 1.