I have been following the story about North Dakota Senate Bill 2030. You know, the North Dakota bill that is threating "to send us to a pre-Row v. Wade era"? Today (April 13), a virtual press conference was held by women in North Dakota who are fighting to prevent this bill from ruining sex education (and more) in our state.

North Dakota Women Speak Out Against Academic Gag Rule was a press conference, made up of a panel of five women who know very well how negatively Bill 2030 could impact North Dakota. Here are their credentials on the topic of sex and education:

  • Kristie Wolff (Host) - Executive Director of North Dakota Women’s Network 
  • Dr. Molly Secor-Turner, Professor of Nursing at NDSU, Principal Investigator of PREP grant
  • Dr. Liz Legerski - Associate Professor of Sociology at UND, University Senate Chair at UND, Faculty Advisor to the ND State Board of Higher Education
  • Natasha Rosario - Women and Gender Studies major at NDSU and current PPNCS intern
  • Katie Christensen - North Dakota State Director, External Affairs PPNCS, Educator

Kristie Wolff began by addressing Senate Bill 2030 and how the proposed "gag rule" could impact women in so many ways - "in academia, internship opportunities, and public access to sex education." Wolff's introduction led to information from Dr. Molly Secor-Turner's.

According to Dr. Secor-Turner, in 2012, most of the United States were experiencing decline in teen pregnancy by 20-40% - except North Dakota and West Virginia did not meet those standards. Secor-Turner stated that funding for the program targets at-risk kids. She also stressed that young people have a right to access sex education programs.

The next to speak was Dr. Liz Legerski. She expressed that education faculty across North Dakota are concerned about the bill's language - it is too broad. Legerski said that many people in education could be negatively impacted by the language in the bill. She said that faculty and students, alike, are at risk of losing academic freedom, resulting in losing freedom of speech. Legerski argued that politicians should not have any role in research and that faculty and students should not be forced to stay away from controversial research topics. Here is a copy of a petition against Bill 2030.

Then, an NDSU student named Natasha Rosario spoke more about how students' education options could be at-risk due to government overreach. She talked about how she chose NDSU because of her personal goals education and career-wise - which the school's partnership with Planned Parenthood could help her achieve. She also worries that other study options could potentially be shut down if this bill passes.

Finally, Katie Christensen argued how crucial it is for kids and young adults to have access to evidence-based sex education. She stressed that the program offers an approved curriculum and that anyone under 17 must have a guardian's permission to even get sex education. Christensen states that sex education keeps people healthy and reduces rates of things like sexual activity, intimate partner violence, STDs/ STIs, teen pregnancy, and even ABORTION.

How do you feel about North Dakota Senate Bill 2030?

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