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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



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.


Mar-25-13 4:40 PM

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and likely contains information about all sides of the debate. It's not an appropriate resource for writing legislation.

Not all parents can or will educate their children about sex. The ones who are at highest risk are probably the kids most in need of a comprehensive sex education program. That's the population the NDSU grant will serve -- at risk teens.


Mar-25-13 4:14 PM

Wikipedia is against abortion, who knew! Hilarious


Mar-25-13 4:01 PM

And then I want to repeat this!!!!!!!!

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is cute, but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots..

Its a sign of the times according to the liberals..


Mar-25-13 3:59 PM

Thank You Locomotive. Its good to read that you are willing to go the extra uncomfortable mile and sit down and discuss the hard issues with your kids.. Some where in their minds they will know that Mom said this was wrong and they will refrain from temptation.. Its good to find there are some people out there who actually are trying to raise their own kids instead of relying on Government schools to teach them right from wrong..


Mar-25-13 3:56 PM

Andrea I have 3 kids.. They each have 2 girls in their families.. NONE of these girls would ever think about sex before marriage. Where did I go wrong? How come I didn't instill this bad behavior in my kids? How come they have not instilled this bad behavior in their kids?

Its all in the upbringing and I can tell you that is about as good a survey as you can take. We are batting 100% and I suspect this will carry on down thru their children's children.

Its called family values.. Yes the genie is out of the bottle and you and people like you are now willing to except that at status quo.. That's the problem with you folks. Folks are too lazy to fight for whats right. Its just much easier to look the other way and let the free fall continue.. So blame no one but your self and others like you who are willing to except this kind of behavior as normal..

I bet you were on Clintons side when he was doing his thing in the WH with Monica.. It was out for the world to see. the news


Mar-25-13 3:12 PM

I did look up the info on studies done, polls taken, etc., and it is as you say, Andrea. Most of the studies/polls indicate a preference for abstinence-plus programs (abstinence and ed about birth control, etc).

As a parent, I prefer to teach my young people about sex, rather than hand that responsibility over to an agency or school.


Mar-25-13 2:37 PM

Specifically, a 2007 U.S. Department of Health study determined that abstinence only programs didn't deter teen pregnancy. States that mandate abstinence only programs have the highest teen pregnancy rates. They may actually deter teens from using birth control if they do end up having sex, putting them at greater risk of pregnancy and disease. kids who have been taught a comprehensive sex ed. curriculum are 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or to get a girlfriend pregnant. All of these studies are readily available online.


Mar-25-13 2:19 PM

And, no, that is not supposition. There have been studies done of different sex education programs and abstinence only programs did worse than those that included information on how to use birth control on the ages kids first became sexually active and use of birth control, etc. Information is power. giving kids that information doesn't necessarily mean they use it. look it up if you don't believe me.


Mar-25-13 2:13 PM

It's the prevailing, mainstream view.


Mar-25-13 2:12 PM

"The danger is that kids who have received abstinence-only education are MORE likely to have unprotected sex and risk getting pregnant or having an STD."

I think this is a large supposition.


Mar-25-13 2:11 PM

"We no longer think it's a great idea for kids to marry the first person they're involved with, but the mid- to late teens is the age when kids are most apt to become sexually active."

Who is this "we" being referred to, because there are some people I know that don't think this way.


Mar-25-13 11:47 AM

But, like it or not, you can't put the genie back in the bottle, to use another cliched metaphor. This is the way the world is; this is the way kids act. You can preach abstinence at them all you like and a large percentage of kids will ignore you and be sexually active. The danger is that kids who have received abstinence-only education are MORE likely to have unprotected sex and risk getting pregnant or having an STD. Comprehensive sex ed. programs, like the one the NDSU-Planned Parenthood grant would be, actually are more successful at getting kids to put off having sex for a year or two and at getting them to take precautions and avoid unwanted pregnancy than the abstinence-only programs. The Legislature's opposition to that grant make zero sense.

I don't like abortion any more than you do. If I could wave a magic wand, there would no more abortions and everyone would get married before having sex. But that's about as likely as a 100 degree day in January in North Dakota.


Mar-25-13 11:38 AM

But they are both in the fish kettle and you painted it with a broad brush in your statement.

Howe many of the marriages back in your grandparents time ended in divorce? Back then we didn't sample every cookie in the jar. We waited for what we thought might be a perfect mate and then when we married we excepted the person for which we chose.

Running around and sampling cookies is a good way to not know what it is you really want. So marriages if they happen in today's world usually end up in divorce because people suddenly remember they like nuts better then chocolate chips so they throw out one cookie then go for the other only to find out they like sugar free.

More is not better Andrea.. as shown by the morals of kids today..


Mar-25-13 11:21 AM

Blame it on the sexual revolution and cultural mores, then, though I'd also point out that North Dakota kids used to get married around the time today's kids are becoming sexually active. Several of my great-grandparents were married by their late teens. One of my great-aunts by marriage was married at 15. Having children out of wedlock was not unknown back in the early 20th century either. We no longer think it's a great idea for kids to marry the first person they're involved with, but the mid- to late teens is the age when kids are most apt to become sexually active.

Obviously murder is never going to be acceptable, or assault or stealing or vandalism or other such crimes. But what we're arguing about here is social behavior that greatly offends some and that others barely shrug at. That's a different kettle of fish entirely.


Mar-25-13 10:38 AM

So your comment "laws ought to be written for the way people actually live, to meet their needs and in a way that will work"

You are saying that maybe a place like Detroit or Chicago with all their killings should have laws written to meet their needs and in a way that will work..

If 30% of their population are killers then we should write laws to assist this behavior because it is the life style they choose and we should write laws to help them achieve their goals..

You don't have a very logical line of thinking..

Using your logic once something gets bad enough then we should write the laws to support the bad behavior right?


Mar-25-13 10:35 AM

Andrea but they are 10 times as likely to use drugs and get pregnant and have premarital sex then they did 60 years ago.

Less might be better but less then what???? 2nd place is still a loser where I came from..


Mar-25-13 12:57 AM

Kids are behaving pretty much the way they always have. If anything, today's teens are slightly LESS likely to have sex or use drugs than kids 20 years ago. But hormones are powerful and they often win, even when a kid is religious or from a "good" family. I think laws ought to be written for the way people actually live, to meet their needs and in a way that will work, not for how people WISH they would live.


Mar-24-13 10:28 PM

Well the bill won't stop the grant because it's too late. That said, I believe it would make it illegal for any individual fitting the criteria to even attend a state college.


Mar-24-13 8:53 PM

Actually when it comes right down to it..Most education is of no value now days.. sex or math or science.. We have about the same rate of failure in all three..yet we continue to supply the schools with all sorts of extra money for sports, band, and everything else that makes them have to teach less and play more..

Our schools have gone to the dogs and all anyone in the district can say is "give us more money"

The proof is in the test results. Money didn't make your kid any smarter.. just made him realize he could get more play time and more toys to play with and study less.

Actually the sex education just made them more curious..


Mar-24-13 4:26 PM

North Dakota has abstinence only education and the highest per capita number of churches in the United States, as well as more two parent families than many other states. More than half of the kids are still sexually active by 17 or 18. Obviously abstinence only education is not terribly effective.


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