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Bill separating higher ed funding over abortion education

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A big part of what lawmakers do is make grant dollars available for universities to apply for, but there’s one bill that if passed, could disqualify North Dakota schools from receiving millions of dollars.

Professors say they’re offering sex education, but backers of the bill say they’re trying to prevent abortions.

Under SB 2030, universities wouldn’t be eligible for $2.8 million in funding if abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, sponsored courses or materials, and it could also put some professors in jail.

Professors say this bill is directly targeting universities trying to offer sex education.

Students say the bill could have far-reaching effects.

They’re worried less money coming to the universities through these grants will take out more than just sex ed.

“It could affect how much they’re paying in tuition and what kinds of professors they’re going to be seeing, because maybe some of them will have to go, maybe some more programs will be cut, maybe some scholarships will no longer be available,” said NDSU student Natasha Rosario.

The bill not only prevents schools from getting the money. It also charges anyone who makes a deal with an abortion provider for educational resources with up to 30 days in jail or a $1,500 fine.

House members said they reached out to NDSU years ago to learn more about their programs.

The universities told them they were moving forward with the education.

Now, they’re taking matters into their own hands.

“If that’s going to keep some people from coming here because they can’t come here to promote and work with an entity that kills innocent babies, I don’t want them,” said Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot.

The bill didn’t start this way. It was originally a simple grant program, but the Senate changed it on the floor and added the abortion clause.

The House agreed and even has its own history in trying to restrict funding like this.

Last week, it passed the State House 66 – 25.

The bill goes back to the Senate where the amendments were originally adopted and passed 29 – 18.

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