Communications interns Christine Miranda and Emma Specter contributed to this post.
On Tuesday, North Dakota voters decisively rejected Measure 3, the latest legislative attempt to undermine reproductive rights under the guise of religious freedom. The amendment to the state constitution was marked by dangerously vague language that would have allowed pharmacists to deny women birth control and hospital employees to refuse to perform life-saving abortions. Some critics maintained that the law could even justify child abuse and domestic violence if perpetrators were “motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs” that entitled them to physically “discipline” their wives and children.
As 64 percent of voters recognized, Measure 3 was not really about religious freedom. Despite recent attempts to conflate this catch phrase with the ability to impose one’s religious beliefs on others, women and men in North Dakota and throughout the United States can see through such poorly-disguised attacks on women’s health. What’s more, they’re taking their opinions to the polls–and winning.
NOW was also thrilled that Democrat Ron Barber won the Arizona special election to finish out Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional term. Barber’s election represents a step in the right direction for Arizona, a state known lately for its extreme anti-immigration act, the highly discriminatory S.B. 1070.
Barber, who defeated opponent Jesse Kelly with 52 percent of the vote, is pro-choice, opposes tax cuts on the 1 percent and believes in protecting Social Security and Medicare. Hopefully, this Arizona win is a sign of victories to come in the 2012 election season. Communications interns Christine Miranda and Emma Specter contributed to this post.