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If you want to end abortion, why kill a grant that teaches about birth control?
March 23, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
A question for legislators who voted in favor of all those abortion restrictions this week. What possible sense does it make to kill a grant that teaches kids about birth control and could prevent some of those unwanted pregnancies?
Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, is the legislator behind the amendment to an anti-abortion bill that would kill a three-year, $1.2 million sex education grant for North Dakota State University. That grant would pay for voluntary sex education for 15 to 19-year-olds in the Fargo area. Parental consent would be required for the program, which involves a partnership between Planned Parenthood and NDSU.
Legislators have been trying to quash that program for months, presumably because Planned Parenthood is involved, even though Planned Parenthood in North Dakota does not perform abortions. Perhaps Grande is not familiar with the reality of teenage sexual behavior. According to the 2011 North Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey, an anonymous survey given to junior high and high school students every two years, 44.8 percent of all high school students in the state have had sexual intercourse. By the time they reach their senior year of high school, 62 percent of kids in the state have had sex. Thirteen percent of freshmen through seniors have had sex with more than four people in their lifetime. Forty five percent of high school students have had oral sex. Fifty three percent of high school students in the state do not believe abstinence is very important to them at this point in their lives. Only 12 percent of those sexually active students have ever been tested for an STD. Given those statistics, I think comprehensive sex education might be very important for North Dakota teenagers. Don't you?
Last month Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem ruled that NDSU could accept the grant. There had been some question about whether the grant would violate a state law that forbids government funding to people or groups that encourage abortion, according to an Associated Press story. The state law was ruled invalid more than 30 years ago, because it conflicts with federal laws.
Expect more of the same if Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs this bill and other abortion-related legislation into law. The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo has promised to take all of this to court and it will more than likely win an immediate court injunction. Grande and our other legislators have just pledged to waste a lot of taxpayer money on a very costly legal battle.
Dalrymple should veto this bill along with similar, misguided legislation passed this week. Surely we have better things to spend our oil surplus money on than defending unconstitutional legislation.
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