March 21, 2013 — The North Dakota House Human Services Committee on Monday approved an amendment that would prohibit the use of public funds to contract with "entities performing, inducing, referring for, or counseling in favor of, abortions," the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports. The amendment was attached to a bill (SB 2368) that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies.
The amendment seeks to block a three-year, $1.2 million federal grant awarded to North Dakota State University professors to launch a sex education program that would be run by Planned Parenthood. NDSU administrators froze the grant after legal questions arose over whether the arrangement violated a state law, but state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) issued a legal opinion last month clarifying that the statute in question was invalidated by a 1981 court decision.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota President Sarah Stoesz said the amendment and other legislation this year show that state lawmakers "will seemingly stop at nothing" to prevent the group from working with youth (Johnson, Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, 3/18).