North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum partially vetoed legislation Friday that restricts taxpayer-funded universities from contracting with Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups.
The law, which passed the state legislature in April, prohibits public colleges and universities from providing money to groups that do elective abortions. Lawmakers said it would stop North Dakota State University from giving taxpayer-funded grants to Planned Parenthood for sex education.
Burgum did not veto the entire law, but he did use his line-item veto to remove penalties to schools that do not comply, KFYR News 5 reports.
The penalties included a fine of $1,500 or up to 30 days in jail for faculty members who organize funding for abortion groups. It also included a $2.8 million funding cut to any school found to be in violation of the law, The Christian Post reports.
In a statement, Burgum said he supports “strong pro-life public policies,” and “taxpayer funding should not go toward funding abortions.” However, he said the penalties were “egregious” and did not include “due process.”
“… leaders of our higher education institutions have shared that their faculty, researchers and grant officers are unwilling to take such a personal risk, thereby jeopardizing hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding and putting jobs, careers and faculty recruitment at severe risk across our university system,” Burgum said.
Here’s more from the Christian Post:
The North Dakota Catholic Conference, which supported the legislation, explained in a statement after the veto that “the pro-life provisions and the challenge grants remain intact.”
“With the veto of Section 5 of the bill, there is no new language requiring the institutions to never partner with an abortion provider,” the conference stated.
The Catholic conference urged universities to “choose life.”
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion chain in the U.S. Its latest annual report, which is publicly available online, lists more than 354,000 abortions. This represents about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. It receives more than a half a billion taxpayer dollars each year while maintaining close relationships with some of the top Democrats in government.
Meanwhile, the same report showed that many of Planned Parenthood’s actual health services continue to decline. It provided less contraception, sterilizations, cancer screenings, adoption referrals and other women’s health services than the previous year, mirroring a continued downward trend. Its patient numbers also have been dropping steadily over the past decade.
Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling aborted baby body parts, botching abortions that killed women, covering up the sexual abuse of minors, discriminating against pregnant and racial minority employees, exploiting young girls by selling cross-sex hormones and more.