North Dakota aims at school curriculum to deter abortions

Mar 29, 2023, 4:19 PM

FILE - An operating room technician performs an ultrasound on a patient at an abortion clinic in Sh...

FILE - An operating room technician performs an ultrasound on a patient at an abortion clinic in Shreveport, La., July 6, 2022. North Dakota schools would be required to show students high-quality video of how a human fetus develops in each week of pregnancy, under a bill that Senate lawmakers approved with a 37-9 vote on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Ted Jackson, File)

(AP Photo/Ted Jackson, File)

North Dakota schools would be required to show students high-quality video of how a human fetus develops in each week of pregnancy under a bill Senate lawmakers approved during a vote Wednesday.

The 37-9 vote comes on the heels of the North Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling this month that a state abortion ban will remain blocked while a lawsuit over its constitutionality proceeds.

“If young people see the beauty of these beginnings, then hopefully they’ll think twice before running to the abortion clinic,” Sen. Janne Myrdal, a Republican of Edinburg who helped introduce the bill, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The bill would mandate schools to show middle and high school students a high-definition ultrasound video, at least three minutes long, on the development of the brain, heart and other vital organs in early fetal development — along with a high-quality animation of the fertilization and human development process inside the uterus, “noting significant markers in cell growth and organ development for every week of pregnancy.”

Lawmakers did not explicitly mention abortion when debating the bill on the Senate floor.

Opponents of the bill said they did not want to overstep by telling local schools how to teach, whereas supporters said lawmakers have the right to mandate curriculum in taxpayer-funded institutions.

“Although the video was great, well-intended, I just think we’re opening the door to something that in the future might widen the scope of how we dictate local schools,” Republican Sen. Michelle Axtman, of Bismarck, said in opposition to the bill.

Myrdal countered that state lawmakers already mandate many aspects of school curriculum including sex and abstinence education, Native American history and anti-bullying programs.

Republican Sen. Michael Wobbema, of Valley City, said the bill would not cost schools any money because the content the lawmakers have in mind is already online and free.

The bill was amended in the Senate, so it still needs to gain final approval in the House and a signature from the governor to become law.

Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound around six weeks into a pregnancy in cells within an embryo that will eventually become the heart.

In Georgia, which has one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion measures, the law prohibits most abortions once there is a “detectable human heartbeat” and effectively bans most abortions at a point before many people know they are pregnant.

Similar so-called heartbeat measures have been considered this year in states including Nebraska.


Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15

National News

FILE - A Ford sign is shown at a dealership in Springfield, Pa., Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Ford Moto...

Associated Press

Ford urges owners of some Lincoln SUVs to park outdoors because they can catch fire with engines off

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is telling owners of more than 140,000 SUVs in the U.S. to park them outside because they can catch fire even when the engines are turned off. The company is recalling certain Lincoln MKC SUVs from the 2015 to 2019 model years. Ford says a short-circuit can develop in the 12-volt […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden to enforce ban on oil, gas drilling to protect tribal sites around New Mexico’s Chaco

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Biden administration is implementing a 20-year withdrawal banning oil and gas development outside the boundaries of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico. The action taken by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state was announced Friday. It is intended to protect […]

6 hours ago

FILE - White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks at a press briefing at the White ...

Associated Press

White House wants to engage Russia on nuclear arms control in post-treaty world

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is ready to have talks with Russia without preconditions about a future nuclear arms control framework even as it is the last nuclear arms control treaty between the two countries. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will make clear the Biden administration’s desire for talks on building a […]

6 hours ago

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks from the airplane at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport in...

Associated Press

US reopens embassy in Seychelles after 27-year absence

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has reopened its embassy in the Seychelles after a 27-year absence during which China and other U.S. rivals made significant inroads in the Indian Ocean islands. The U.S. State Department announced the move late Thursday, after having unveiled plans to open a diplomatic mission in northern Norway, which will […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

US expands slots for asylum app at land crossings as demand overwhelms supply

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) — U.S. authorities on Thursday expanded slots to seek asylum at land crossings with Mexico through a mobile app for the second time in less than a month, seeking to dispel doubts it isn’t a viable option. There are now 1,250 appointments daily at eight land crossings, up from 1,000 previously and […]

1 day ago

In this photo provided by Vernon Tyau, Jarek Agcaoili, left, with his mother Danielle, sister Jessi...

Associated Press

3 dead, 2 missing after family fishing trip in Alaska becomes a nightmare

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska fishing adventure became a nightmare for a family of eight when disaster struck one of the two boats they chartered over the Memorial Day weekend, leaving three people dead and two more missing despite a desperate search over hundreds of square miles of ocean. The tragedy tore the Tyau […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

North Dakota aims at school curriculum to deter abortions