Despite strong backlash from state legislators and Christian groups, North Dakota State University is continuing to partner with Planned Parenthood in hosting “Safe Spaces” sexual education workshops for teachers in K-12 schools.
Eighty-nine Republican state legislators, along with several Christian organizations, have called for NDSU to drop the partnership, claiming it violates the intention of North Dakota law, reported Inforum.com. According to state law, "no funds of this state or any agency, county, municipality, or any other subdivision thereof and no federal funds passing through the state treasury or a state agency may be used as family planning funds by any person or public or private agency which performs, refers, or encourages abortion."
Since 2017, NDSU has received $250,000 annually as part of a federal program aimed at youth sex education, with a particular aim towards preventing unintended pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. In 2018, NDSU gave Planned Parenthood $165,629 out of the $250,000 that the school received from its federal grant, Brynn Rawlings, media relations coordinator for NDSU confirmed to Campus Reform.
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According to Molly Secor-Turner, an NDSU associate professor and investigator for the grant, the donations to Planned Parenthood helped fund various education efforts, including the Safe Spaces workshops, which received almost $1,000 of NDSU’s grant money.
In a letter sent to the university this April, Republican state legislators stated that while some of the workshop’s training topics were themselves worrisome, “it is primarily the very public partnership with Planned Parenthood that causes the greatest concern,” as Planned Parenthood is most prominently known as the nation’s premier abortion provider.
In particular, the letter contrasts the “research into teaching methods about sexual health,” which the legislators deem a proper academic pursuit, with NDSU supporting Planned Parenthood’s classes across the state, which they deem unnecessary and inappropriate.
On May 29, NDSU President Dean Bresciani responded via a letter to state Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-ND), who collected the signatures for the April letter. Bresciani claimed that the University cannot cancel its grant, because that woul
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