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Fargo School Board, state education group oppose bill requiring students to view fetal ultrasound video

Spokeswoman for district said the board typically opposes any curriculum mandate.

Fargo North High School Brass Ensemble opens up the Fargo School Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.jpg
Fargo North High School Brass Ensemble opens up the Fargo School Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
C.S. Hagen / The Forum
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FARGO — The Fargo School Board and a state education organization are going on record as opposing a bill recently introduced in the North Dakota Legislature that would require school districts to include high-resolution videos of fetal development in their growth and development and human sexuality curricula.

House Bill 1265 would add a new section to the North Dakota Century Code that would require a school district's life science and/or sexual education programs to have human growth and development discussion that would include a high-definition ultrasound video at least five minutes long showing the development of the brain, heart, sex organs and other vital organs in early fetal development.

According to the bill, such discussion would also have to include a high-quality, computer generated rendering or animation showing the process of fertilization and every stage of human development inside the uterus, noting organ development for every week of pregnancy until birth.

The bill is sponsored by Reps. Karen Anderson, Scott Dyk, Matt Heilman, Brandon Prichard, Karen Rohr and Vicky Steiner, along with Sen. Janne Myrdal, all Republicans.

A spokeswoman for Fargo Public Schools declined to speak at length about the school district's opposition to the bill but said the district typically opposes any curriculum mandate.

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West Fargo Public Schools are not on record as taking a stand on any new legislation, a district spokeswoman said.

At a Jan. 17 House Human Services Committee hearing on the bill, Kevin Hoherz, representing the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, presented testimony in opposition to the bill.

Hoherz maintained that new curriculum and standards should follow the standard review process used by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

A number of organizations presented testimony in favor of the bill, including North Dakota Right to Life, Concerned Women of America Legislative Action Committee and North Dakota Family Alliance Legislative Action.

In a written document presented as part of the hearing, Anderson said the purpose of the bill was "to describe human growth and development discussion to include an 'oral, written, or digital lesson, lecture, or presentation about human biology related to pregnancy and human development inside the womb' to the benchmarks in our North Dakota Life Science and Health State Standards.''

As part of her testimony, Anderson also proposed an amendment to the bill, which would require the superintendent of public instruction to make sure the requirements of the new section of law are included in the North Dakota science content standards.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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