Washington D.C., May 11, 2021 / 11:15 am
North Dakota’s governor last week partially vetoed a bill penalizing state universities for conducting business with abortion providers.
The state’s legislature had passed SB 2030, which prohibited challenge grant money from going to universities that partner with organizations that provide or support abortion. The legislature passed the bill to sanction North Dakota State University for its continued refusal to stop funding Planned Parenthood.
The bill also set up penalties for university partnerships with abortion providers, mandating operating budget cuts to the schools in violation and fines and jail time for school officials. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) vetoed those provisions, however, saying they were “void of due process” and that the penalty was “egregious in its amount.”
In his veto letter, the governor affirmed his administration’s pro-life record.
“In the end, it’s a win,” Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference (NDCC), told CNA. “The bill doesn’t have the higher penalties, but it still says if those universities want the matching grants to help their students, all they have to do is not do business with Planned Parenthood. It’s that simple.”
For every two dollars raised by state colleges and universities for scholarships and academic initiatives, the state matches one dollar, under North Dakota’s challenge grant program.
Because of the challenge grants statute, Dodson called it “a pro-life victory.” He also said it is good for students because the matching grants are still available.
He said the state Catholic conference has not taken a stance on supporting an override of the veto.