| || |
Shame on North Dakota Legislature
March 18, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
North Dakota legislators chose last week to throw taxpayer money down the rat hole to defend likely unconstitutional legislation that severely restricts abortion.
If the governor signs it, the legislation essentially bans all abortions performed after six weeks gestation, before many women know they are pregnant, or whenever a fetal heartbeat can be detected as well as all abortions performed due to gender selection or due to a genetic defect, such as Down Syndrome. If signed into law, the legislation would give North Dakota the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
Not that they will ever be enforced. I predict that a lawyer for the Fargo Women's Clinic will be in court seeking an injunction on the day that Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs that bill and it will be easily granted.
Even most of the legislators who voted "yes" on this legislation knew darned well that what they want to do is unconstitutional. Some of the wiser among them probably also know that the best way to prevent abortions is not to outlaw them. A comprehensive sex education program, including information about birth control, where to obtain it and how to use it, beginning in middle school, might be a good start. The most effective sex education programs do not teach abstinence only; they teach that abstinence is the best choice for young people but recognize that some teens are going to have sex and need to know how to protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy. Depressingly, North Dakota mandates that sex education programs emphasize abstinence, despite the fact that statistics show that many North Dakota teenagers are sexually active by the time they graduate from high school.
A stronger social safety net would undoubtedly help women who are unexpectedly pregnant. Rental assistance and child care assistance might make the difference for a young mother who is weighing the cost of raising another child on a limited income. It might not prevent all abortions, but it would prevent a significant number of them, since financial difficulties are among the reasons women give for having abortions.
I, like the legislators, would like to see fewer abortions, but I am frustrated by their wrongheaded approach to this goal. The total cost of defending these misguided proposed laws can't be estimated, but it's fair to say that lawyers on both sides will be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all those billable hours and a possible trip to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The lawyers are the only ones who win here. The winners certainly aren't going to be North Dakota taxpayers. I am ashamed of our legislators. Gov. Jack Dalrymple should refuse to sign these bills into law.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web