South Dakota, I love you, but you're bringing me down. Your neighbor to the north, the lovely and creatively named "North Dakota," just pulled ahead in the ongoing Race to Determine Which of the Dakotas is superior by roundly rejecting a ballot measure that would have given any ol' religious dickbag the constitutional right to do pretty much whatever they wanted and then defend their action by saying it was their religion's fault. The amendment's pro-choice detractors feared that the law would be used to punch women straight in the babymaking parts, limiting their access to contraception and abortion. But potential violations of North Dakota women's bodily autonomy is not the only reason that the law was a terrible abortion of democracy.
Although it sounds like vintage Blunt Amendment-inspired swill, Measure 3 has actually been in the works since before an all-male panel brought to Capitol Hill to discuss women's access to birth control was just a glint in Darrell Issa's eye. But the same groups that are currently gung-ho about constitutionally enshrining the right of pharmacists to not do their job because it hurts their feelings are behind it.
The innocuously small amendment reads, "Government may not burden a person's or religious organization's religious liberty." Taken at face value, this doesn't seem like too nutty a proposition. But opponents point out that it could be use to justify a number of egregious actions, and then protect the perpetrators as long as the perpetrators claimed that what they did was in accordance with their religious faith. This includes child abuse, spousal abuse, slaveholding (I mean, it's in the Bible), rape victim stoning, and, of course, the requisite right to abortion and contraception refusal conservatives seem so eager to grant to religious professionals.
When I say voters "roundly rejected" Measure 3, that's not hyperbole — that horrible mess of a bill got its ass kicked. Thanks to anti-child abuse and pro-women's groups sounding the alarm, an unusually high number of North Dakota voters showed up to the polls last night. Sixty percent of them voted "no" on the measure, beating out the "yes" vote by 30 points. Turns out, people in Real America are just fine with the religious freedom that everyone else has.
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