Burgum listening to the wrong people

William Fleck

Fargo

For some time, Governor Burgum has showed himself to be on the right side of history when it comes to the public health issue of addiction. This was especially clear in his recent State of the State address in Minot.

His compassion for North Dakotans who are struggling with the illness that is addiction is deeply appreciated. It is clear that he is listening to what public health experts say about addiction. It is a health issue first and foremost, and criminalizing a health issue is empirically misguided and morally wrong.

I wonder, then, where is Burgum’s compassion for women seeking to terminate pregnancies for diverse reasons? In January – the 45th anniversary of the right-to-privacy judicial decision known as Roe v. Wade – he made a “Sanctity of Human Life Month” proclamation. This dog-whistle to anti-choice activists has not gone unnoticed.

Terminating a pregnancy is rarely a simple choice, and most of the women who do so are dealing with challenging medical and financial circumstances. I trust the public health experts when it comes to understanding addiction, and I trust women when it comes to decisions about their reproductive health. I urge Burgum to listen more closely to women.

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