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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.


Article Comments



Apr-06-13 9:37 AM

Planned Parenthood has received a lion's share of "unintentional" press this past week with the FL legislature incident. That dust will settle soon, I'm sure.

Now if PP wishes to be taken seriously, as in its recent press release about "care for women and children," they'll have to watch their p's and q's in establishing a presence in ND.


Apr-02-13 11:36 AM

Legislators have come to their senses and killed the amendment to the abortion bill that would have threatened the NDSU grant. I am pleased to see that there is still a bit of common sense there.


Mar-28-13 3:21 PM

I wouldn't have a problem with legalizing polygamy between consenting adults because for some it's a religious requirement. However, I think there would be too many problems with the tax code and family court issues. There's also the question of how many wives or husbands a person could legally have. If it's legalized for a man and two wives, it would be discriminatory not to allow him to be legally married to all seven or ten or 20 of his wives. And, if the sister wives all helped raise each other's children, could they be on the hook for child support or be given child custody rights if one of them wants to divorce her husband? That's the real Pandora's box. The lawyers would love it.


Mar-27-13 12:19 PM

If you're talking about polygamy, I have my doubts that it would pass because it would be a tax and family court nightmare. They might consider decriminalizing it for consenting adults. For some people like the fundamentalist Mormons and Muslims it is a religious practice.


Mar-26-13 5:44 PM

I'd wait until the case is tried, in spite of expert opinions.


Mar-26-13 2:50 PM

As it's unconstitutional, I highly doubt it.


Mar-26-13 1:36 PM

Well, now that Gov. Dalrymple has signed the bill, it's time to wait for the court injunction and the bill for all those hundreds of thousands of dollars for defending this legislation.

Just imagine what else we could have done with all that money.


Mar-26-13 11:36 AM

Yeah, that Paul Ehrlich. Wonderful guy. He's been featured lately on PBS. Rather chilling statements and alarmist predictions. Wow.


Mar-26-13 9:52 AM

I wouldn't compare these cases to Dred Scot. From a personal standpoint, I think there are better uses for my tax dollars than defending this legislation.

Personally, I oppose abortion and would be comfortable with some reasonable restrictions, if they were constitutional. I don't think abortion is usually acceptable past the point the fetus is viable, which is probably at about 22 weeks -- not 6 weeks. I think abortion is regrettable but necessary if a doctor says it will save the life of the mother or if it will preserve her future mental or physical health or fertility. If a child is going to be so severely disabled that he will die immediately after birth, I think there are very few who wouldn't abort and I couldn't take that right away from them. These laws don't make allowances for those situations. Any good laws would.

Blocking the NDSU/Planned Parenthood grant also makes no sense.


Mar-26-13 9:46 AM

Again, read the amendment. It does not stop sex education programs. It only prevents taxpayer money from subsidizing abortion.


Mar-26-13 9:33 AM

Legal "experts" have been proven wrong in court before. Consider lawyers on both sides of Dred Scott, for example.


Mar-26-13 9:11 AM

I'm not a lawyer and I wouldn't presume to say. Legal experts have said the Legislature has passed unconstitutional legislation. Perhaps they should have consulted something other than Wikipedia.


Mar-26-13 7:45 AM

Again, I repeat,what should the laws say in all your great wisdom?


Mar-26-13 12:15 AM

Some laws, yes. In this case we have unconstitutional laws that will cost the state a great deal of money, won't be enforced and won't actually prevent abortions. Bad laws.


Mar-25-13 9:19 PM

Oh, Locomotive! Absolutely.


Mar-25-13 8:53 PM

In regards to all the other various laws that have been passed by state legislatures: if they haven't prevented certain behaviors (running the gamut from larceny to stalking to improper food handling), those laws have not been worth the effort to write them?


Mar-25-13 8:45 PM

What should the bills say to prevent abortions?


Mar-25-13 7:45 PM

Again, the various abortion bills passed by the legislature will NOT prevent abortion; there are documented results with comprehensive sex ed. programs like the one NDSU plans.

And this discussion has nothing to do with health care reform.


Mar-25-13 7:40 PM

disgusted: stay tuned


Mar-25-13 6:40 PM

I am shocked that the teens in Fargo are so isolated from the world that they need over a million dollars to be taught about sex and birth control from PP where abortion is on their front page. Roe v Wade was based on a lie. But, to the libs, the ends justified the means. I think I will start pushing for murder or killing of anyone who will cost long term medical and custodial care. I have switched my position on Obamacare and the 15 member panel. I think they need to start with all those in nursing homes who are in vegetative states and in their 20', 30's and 40's.


Mar-25-13 6:14 PM

And, once again, if you want to end abortion these bills aren't the way to do it. Every legal expert who has weighed in on this says they're unconstitutional and might not even make it to the Supreme Court. Programs like the NDSU grant actually DO prevent many unwanted pregnancies, yet the Legislature is tring to kill it. I've yet to hear a logical or satisfactory explanation for why. Not that logic has much to do with these radical bills.


Mar-25-13 6:07 PM

Yep, hammered ,maybe, but alive. Can't say the same for the millions killed in this country full of compassionate people. Right. Kill the babies, but save the horses. I wonder what people will say about this country in another 100 years. I find people who support killing humans reprehensible. Too bad we can't get rid of anyone who drains the economy once they have make it through the birth canal---those like drunks, drug addicts, debilitating diseases, chronic conditions, those suffering from crippling accidents,etc. A compassionate country, my you know what.


Mar-25-13 5:14 PM

The last post is garbled due to my iPad. Wikipedia is fine as a first reference but anyone can edit it and it is not always accurate. I would give a 5th grader an F for using Wikipedia as a primary source for a paper. It's laughable that our legislators would do this for a bill that will cost the state so much money and affect so many lives. I'm amazed that Sitte even admitted to it.


Mar-25-13 5:10 PM

The Associated Press quoted Margaret Sitte in a story last week stating that the legislators took some of the material for their personhood bill from Wikipedia. Sitte is a Republican state legislator. This is, in my judgment, completely inappropriate. the material for the bills from Wikipedia.


Mar-25-13 5:01 PM

and where is the proof that they took anything from Wikepedia? States across the country exchange bills all the time. Wikepedia reports what has happened, it is that simple.


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