FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, June 13, 2012, ( – Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and other national abortion advocates are taking a victory lap after North Dakota rejected a measure to protect religious liberty.

Measure 3 would have restricted the government’s ability to force individuals to violate their consciences, requiring lawmakers to reach a higher legal standard before laws infringing on conscience rights would be considered constitutional. 

North Dakota voters rejected the measure yesterday by a nearly two-to-one margin. 

Planned Parenthood, which almost single-handedly supplied the funding behind the half-million-dollar campaign against the amendment, celebrated its victory Tuesday night.

“Measure Three was divisive, unnecessary and could have had dangerous consequences,” said Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Other abortion advocates echoed her sentiments.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) claimed the measure’s language was “dangerously vague” and would have denied women birth control and “life-saving abortions.”

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The Feminist Majority Foundation simply said, “We did it!”

NARAL Pro-Choice America boasted in a press release the vote marked its “10th pro-choice victory out of the 11 ballot measures affecting reproductive rights.” 

The ACLU claimed the amendment “was part of a broader, nationwide campaign to use religion to advance a conservative political agenda.” Their press release went on to disparage laws protecting the conscience rights of physicians and health care professionals.

Archbishop-designate Samuel Aquila, who is currently the bishop of Fargo, strongly supported the measure.

However, he and other pro-family organizations were outspent by pro-abortion lobbying organizations, who claimed the measure would allow people to justify everything from polygamy and child abuse to running red lights in the name of religion.

Measure 3 said that a “sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.”

Similar laws exist in 27 other states.

Christopher Dodson, who heads the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said he and other faith leaders will remain “ever-vigilant to ensure that this precious right is always protected and respected.” 

“We will not rest until religious freedom in North Dakota is protected in the law as a fundamental human right,” he said.