Bill would require fetal growth film in North Dakota schools

(Associated Press)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 7:14 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota House on Monday approved a bill that would require school districts to show a video on fetal development as part of life science curriculums.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, passed by a 60-34 vote. It does not specify which grade levels would see the films.

It requires the showing of an ultrasound video, at least three minutes long, that details the early fetal development of the brain, heart, sex organs and other vital organs. The film would be presented during human growth and development discussions and human sexuality instructions.

Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal of Edinburg, one of the Legislature’s most ardent anti-abortion members, showed a sample video last month to a House committee from Live Action, an anti-abortion organization.

She said the organization is willing to relinquish its rights to the video and provide it free to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Myrdal said she chose the video because it was the shortest and most scientific video of its kind that she had seen, not because it came from Live Action.

“If that becomes controversial... it would be media making it controversial or the abortion industry making it controversial because of the source of the video,” she said.

DPI spokesman Dale Wetzel said the agency didn’t testify on the bill and he had no comment on the video.

Rep. David Richter, R-Williston, opposed the bill because it set academic standards outside of DPI rules and school boards.

And Rep. LaurieBeth Hager, D-Fargo, said she opposed the bill because the House Education Committee did not review it.