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Our legislators have better things to do than pass anti-abortion legislation

February 11, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Don't our legislators have better things to do than write and pass anti-abortion legislation that will likely be proven unconstitutional and expensive to defend in court?

There are currently seven bills up before the state legislature that are intended to restrict access to abortion.

Senate Bill 2303 would grant legal protection to a fetus at every stage of development from conception and would likely effectively outlaw abortion. The second version of the bill grants exceptions in cases of in vitro fertilization services or an abortion necessary to save the life of the mother.

Senate Bill 2305 would require that any physician performing an abortion within the state be an OBGYN with privileges at a local hospital.

House Bill 1356 would prohibit an abortion if the doctor can detect a heartbeat, something that can be detected as early as six weeks of gestation – before many women know they're pregnant – and would probably require the woman to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.

The Right to Life Act would add a new section to Article I of the state constitution, relating to the inalienable right to life of every human being at every stage of development. This would require a vote of the people.

Senate Bill 2368 would prohibit an abortion past 20 weeks of gestation.

House Bill 1305 would prohibit an abortion for sex selection or genetic abnormalities.

Our esteemed legislators appear to be throwing everything at the wall in hope that some of it will stick. The legislation will all likely be immediately challenged in court and judges will grant injunctions. They will weave their way through the court system, presumably until they reach the Supreme Court. Lawyers are likely salivating, but no one else should be happy.

Shouldn't some of that time and money be diverted to more fruitful pursuits, such as funding for social service programs, funding for low income housing grants and rent subsidies and other programs that actually will help prevent some of those abortions?


Article Comments



Feb-16-13 8:36 PM

PP adoptions are so miniscule that they are not listed separately in their annual report. And, this educationis ONLY for a few Fargo kids. But, if we can abort all those babies these girls can go onto get a great education.


Feb-16-13 8:29 PM

Again, if this is such an important education, then why not do it without the $1.2 million and bringing PP into ND through the back door?


Feb-16-13 6:39 PM

Andrea, would you define "abortion services" as counseling, contraceptives (given or prescribed), educational brochures, as well as the abortion procedure itself?

If so, then I can understand the c/p of Planned Parenthood's "abortion services" plural.


Feb-16-13 2:40 PM

In some states they do provide abortions; in North Dakota there is one abortion clinic, in Fargo. If a woman wants an abortion, she can probably get a referral there from Planned Parenthood if she visits them, as well as to the various social service and adoption agencies in the state if she decides to keep the baby or to give it up for adoption. Abortion is one of the options to be considered, like it or not. This particular grant will pay for sex education for girls in their late to mid teens, including birth control and STD prevention. The parents have to give their consent. I think that is a valuable service and I'm glad they can go ahead with the grant.


Feb-16-13 1:32 PM

"If there is not a health center nearby that provides the abortion services you need, call your nearest center for a list of referrals."

Abortion services, plural? I thought "abortion" was one service, perhaps using various methods, with one intended result. Yes, I did just fall off the turnip truck on this one...


Feb-16-13 12:49 PM

Actually, they do provide abortions. They may not "perform" abortions physicaly in the state, but they refer them to any number of THEIR clinics that will perform the abortion.

"Abortions are available at many Planned Parenthood health centers, clinics, and the offices of private health care providers. Use our health center locator to find the nearest Planned Parenthood health center that offers abortion services. If there is not a health center nearby that provides the abortion services you need, call your nearest center for a list of referrals."


Feb-16-13 9:53 AM

"Planned Parenthood calls NDSU funding a “warning” to anti-abortion elected leaders" "Politics should never interfere with health care or education.”

sounds a bit threatening from a group not in ND. They want free rein to come into ND with their agenda.


Feb-15-13 3:16 PM

Agreed, disgusted. PP's reputation precedes them. "Healthcare" is a fine euphemism for everyone except the aborted baby.


Feb-15-13 1:26 PM

and we don't want PP in North Dakota.They are attempting to get in through any back door they can find.


Feb-15-13 1:05 PM

In North Dakota, they apparently do not provide abortions. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides birth control, pregnancy screenings and probably other women's health services like PAP tests and breast cancer screening. It was a big help to a friend of mine on a limited budget when she was living in Sioux Falls years ago and wanted some of those screenings.


Feb-15-13 12:28 PM

the facts from Planned Parenthood’s annual reports, this being the most recent (2010-2011):

PP claims to be a health care provider and is the Nation’s largest abortion provider. In 2011-2012 Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions (1 abortion every 94 seconds) Screening and prevention services dropped by 29 percent and contraceptive services declined by 12 percent. Abortions make up 92 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services; prenatal care and adoption referrals make up the other 8 percent. In 2011-2012, Planned Parenthood received $542 million in federal funds – 45.2 percent of the group’s annual revenue. Minority Outreach: Blacks 3.5 times abortion rate of Whites (12 percent of population) 35% of total abortions 79% of PP clinics within walking distance of minority neighborhoods 51% of total PP clinics in minority neighborhoods

PP claims to be a health care provider, which I find to be a strange provider of health.


Feb-15-13 10:11 AM

I'm not familiar with the details of that program but a $1.2 million grant program is probably going to pay for materials, outreach programs, possibly someone to manage all of it, based on similar grant programs at MSU. It would be far too much for people to do on a volunteer basis and have the same impact.

Planned Parenthood doesn't perform abortions. My understanding is that it provides women with information about existing options. Most of their clientele are probably people seeking birth control or health screenings and aren't pregnant. If your goal is to reduce abortions, you want to make sure that sexually active teens have access to and know how to use birth control.

Note also that this is one of North Dakota's abortion laws that conflicts with federal law. So will a lot of the others the legislature is considering. How much money will the state throw down the rathole defending them?


Feb-15-13 12:16 AM

if they are already being referred to the abortion clinic as you stated, I think birth control is a bit late. These women already have a job with the university. What do you have against volunteering? why would someone demand payment for a program they were so passionate about and believed was soooo important for the safety of these girls?


Feb-14-13 10:15 PM

Why should they work without getting paid? And, if it prevents unwanted pregnancy and STDs, it's probably money well spent.


Feb-14-13 8:30 PM

another $1.2 million from a broke government. I suppose those two women would never volunteer their time is such an important agenda.


Feb-14-13 7:39 PM

That particular bill might pass muster; the others are so extreme that I don't think they would and defending them will cost the state money that could be better spent elsewhere.

I misspoke earlier. The Attorney General ruled that a 30-year-old appeals court ruling invalidates North Dakota law because it conflicts with a federal law. But Stenehjem's ruling means NDSU can still go ahead with its voluntary sex-education program for 15 to 19 year olds even if Planned Parenthood refers clients to an abortion provider.


Feb-14-13 7:17 PM

defining life with more current scientific knowledge than what was available 30 plus years ago is a good thing. And protecting life is nothing to throw out with the trash.


Feb-14-13 6:40 PM

Fraud will always exist in some of these programs and should be prosecuted where it is found; the programs themselves serve a valuable purpose.

But to get back to the original point, the legislature's abortion laws are likely not going to accomplish their purpose; funding programs that help people in dire circumstances might do so.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals just struck down one of North Dakota's statutes forbidding the funding of family planning programs that perform abortions or refer women to abortion providers. The statute conflicts with a federal law. Expect the same result for some of the anti-abortion legislation being considered this session.


Feb-14-13 6:13 PM

oh lorexxx, your are right. I had forgotten all about that. All one has to do is rent to these welfare mother's and the government comes in and replaces windows, doors, adds insulation because these people shouldn't be cold. Cheap way to upgrade your property and then SELL it for a hefty profit. Yep, no misuse of those funds to care for the 'poor'.


Feb-14-13 6:08 PM

There's where we differ. I think people who defraud the system ought to be prosecuted appropriately but the likelihood that some will take advantage isn't a good enough reason not to offer assistance. programs like housing or child care assistance help many and also benefit society in the long run since they head off bigger problems.


Feb-14-13 5:55 PM

Oh Andrea, no one cheats on subsidies just like no cheats on petitions, or voting, or tests or anything else or whatever the latest program for kids is. Getting pregnant 4 times so one can qualify for a split level home or having a kid every two years so they can continue on WIC or over feed a baby so they can continue on the WIC program. All cheating the system that was set up to 'HELP' Quite a gig if you can get it.

A sefety net is one thing. Espousing that housing subsidies stops abortion is QUITE another.


Feb-14-13 5:18 PM

Oh, come on. Housing subsidies would likely be available to people who meet income guidelines for them, as other such programs are. If your hypothetical neighbor met the guidelines, she'd also get a subsidy. No one would be getting a free screened porch.


Feb-14-13 4:56 PM

Let's say I am pregnant, I am lower middle income, I see my neighbor got a housing subsidy because the safety net gurus didn't like that she was going to have an abortion. I then decide to go to those same guru's and cry that I don't want an abortion, but we just can't afford this baby. I push and plead and I too then get a subsidy along with it the new screened in deck I have always wanted. thank you


Feb-14-13 4:25 PM

Heisenberg, I agree with your option B: "the vast majority of those programs will be abused by at least a few individuals."

Feb-14-13 3:45 PM

Andrea, got it. Agree to disagree. :)


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