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Letter: An open letter to pro-life North Dakotans

If abortion is turned over to the states, North Dakota will become virtually abortion-free overnight, thanks to our existing triggers in the Century Code (yes, there are actually more than one). However, are we as the pro-life community going to “see this through” as we must?

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Fellow pro-life North Dakotans: We are on the brink of what may be a watershed moment in our movement, with a forthcoming ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case that will hopefully pave the way to affirming the rights of preborn children. While that is very exciting, I offer these thoughts on a post-Dobbs world.

If abortion is turned over to the states, North Dakota will become virtually abortion-free overnight, thanks to our existing triggers in the Century Code (yes, there are actually more than one). However, are we as the pro-life community going to “see this through” as we must?

With fewer North Dakota mothers aborting their children, there will now be a greater need for support for these new families from the faith community, businesses, government and individuals. We often advocate for adoption as a viable alternative to mothers who don’t want to keep their children after childbirth, and many times it can be a good solution. However, this brings up the question of what we can do to lower adoption costs in North Dakota and further facilitate the process?

By some estimates, in our country there are 36 families waiting to adopt for every available child. While the state of North Dakota does provide some assistance to families who want to adopt, what can we do to enhance and further strengthen programs like these, both in the private and public sectors?

Similarly, we should advocate for more funding to programs like the Alternatives to Abortion Program so that there are resources to help mothers after giving birth. Supporting organizations that can provide additional shelter and work training, as well as even allocating more targeted Medicaid funding, could all potentially assist these new families.

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What I’m advocating does not sound very conservative, does it? Those of us who are more conservative pro-life advocates tend to shrink back at the thought of additional government funding and “handouts,” given the inefficiency and market distortions they can create. To that point, it is certainly possible that the best solutions are not through government intervention and spending. However, if we truly believe that government is not a significant part of the solution, that does not absolve us from stepping up. In fact, it places additional responsibilities on us and all other North Dakotans.

While there are a number of ways we can support new mothers and their children, here is the most remarkable part of all this for our state. In 2020, there were 833 North Dakota women who aborted their children at the Red River Women’s Clinic. That’s right; if none of those abortions happened, we are talking about helping 833 women and their newborns, folks.

Let me put that in perspective. We have almost 1,500 churches in North Dakota, tens-of thousands of businesses, a state biennial budget of roughly $17 billion, and approximately 325,000 households. There will most certainly be challenges, but I think we can find a way to come together and help 833 women and their newborn children.

Mark Jorritsma is the executive director of the North Dakota Family Alliance.

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

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