February 17, 2015 — The time has come for North Dakota "to turn away from attacks on reproductive health" and instead "support the women and families of our state and protect our public health," Amy Jacobson -- North Dakota public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota -- writes in a Grand Forks Herald opinion piece.
"The voters have spoken," she adds, noting that North Dakotans "soundly" rejected "an anti-women's health care ballot measure" last November.
Jacobson explains how two pieces of state legislation in the Women's Health Package "would protect women's health and reduce unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortion."
One bill (HB 1295) would increase low-income women's access to preventive health services, including sexually transmitted infection screenings and contraception. Noting that about half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion, Jacobson writes that "we can all support reducing the [state's] unintended pregnancy rate." HB 1295 "would do exactly that," she states.
Jacobson continues that the second bill in the package (HB 1291) would "provide pregnancy care through the Medicaid program for more low-income women," which is "critical in order to have healthy outcomes for women and their babies."
In summary, Jacobson writes that the package would bring North Dakota women "the family planning services and pregnancy care they need," which would result in "healthier women and healthier pregnancies, fewer low birth weight births, reduced rates of unintended pregnancy and fewer abortions" (Jacobson, Grand Forks Herald, 2/11).