Three days after the North Dakota House advanced a bill banning mask mandates in businesses and schools during a global pandemic, which is sure to drive many public employees to seek employment elsewhere, the Senate clandestinely adopted an amendment to SB 2030 that, if the bill passes both houses, will lead to a massive brain drain, not to mention gigantic losses in funding to our research universities.

Capitalizing on anti-abortion rhetoric and the stigma around Planned Parenthood, the last-minute amendment by Sen. Myrdal would effectively allow the legislature to control what kind of research can and cannot be conducted at the university level. In 2013 this was an attempt to tie up federal grant money because some of it would go toward sex education. Such grants pay for and promote undergraduate and graduate research; they attract national attention and put North Dakota on the map. If we allow legislators to control what sort of research is done with respect to reproductive health, what next?

This most recent infringement on academic freedom by the state government will impact researchers, students, and the community at large. We should trust our researchers to do their research. Keep the government's nose out of it.

Anastassiya Andrianova lives in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.