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Letter to the editor: Measure 1 would strengthen the state’s constitution

Measure 1 will be on the ballot in November. It would insert language into the North Dakota Century Code stating, “The inalienable right to life of any human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

Measure 1 itself does not make law but instead gives standards to which any laws passed by the North Dakota Legislature must conform. Measure 1 would strengthen North Dakota’s constitution and rein in the power of activist judges to rule against certain right-to-life laws passed by the Legislature as has happened in the past.

Opponents claim that Measure 1 would limit North Dakotans’ ability to make decisions such as advance directives for end-of-life health care. This simply is not true.

There is a distinction between knowingly killing a human being and ending treatment or providing pain relief that has as its purpose something other than killing.

North Dakota has laws authorizing its citizens to make advanced health care directives or to appoint someone to make these decisions for them if they are unable. (North Dakota Century Code sec. 12.1-16-06; N.D.C.C. Sec. 23-06.5-13 (9); N.D.C.C. sec. 23-06.5-01.)

Measure 1 does not repeal any of these laws.