In the final days of session, North Dakota legislators continue to work on the budget for the Department of Human Services. According to the DHS website, its role is to "provide services that help vulnerable North Dakotans of all ages to maintain or enhance their quality of life, which may be threatened by lack of financial resources, emotional crises, disabling conditions, or an inability to protect themselves."
This budget bill's impact on our communities is profound. Despite massive drops in funding to incredibly important programs, there is one receiving an increase-the so-called "Alternatives to Abortion" program is set to land at $600,000.
The program funds Crisis Pregnancy Centers, fake healthcare centers offering inaccurate information and biased counseling to women seeking reproductive care or facing an unintended pregnancy. They lure women with false promises of information on abortion, birth control and family planning. Once a woman enters, she finds she's trapped in a situation where she's lectured about her body, health and lifestyle.
A woman deserves accurate information in order to make the best decision for herself, free from coercion, shaming or intimidation. CPCs are simply state-sanctioned instruments used to oppress women. They have no place in North Dakota.
Shockley lives in Mandan, N.D.