A Lesson from History for the Modern Citizen: The Middle Passage

Near the beginning of the 19th century, Britain had just lost the war to America and there was talk of another war, this time with France, on the horizon. Britain was trying to carry on with work as usual, hoping that the revolution in France would not leak across the English Channel. However, there was an even greater horror going on within their own empire. Most people in Britain had heard of this horror in passing, but those who partook in it were careful to keep it far from the eyes and ears of everyday British citizens, for to bring this evil into the light could bring financial ruin for all involved. This horror was known as the Middle Passage.

 “The Middle Passage across the Atlantic was front and center in the slave trade’s catalog of horrors. It was so named because it was the middle leg of the infamous ‘triangle trade.’ On the first leg, European goods were transported to Africa and there unloaded; on the second, the ship was filled with its human cargo, who during this ‘middle passage’ were transported to the West Indies, to be sold there; and on its final leg the ship carried West Indian goods back to Europe.” [1]

This Middle Passage consisted of unspeakable horrors. I feel it best to describe these horrors, as the author Eric Metaxas did in Amazing Grace (which I highly recommend reading), in the words of a surgeon who was on board a slave ship.

“The men Negroes… on being brought aboard the ship, are immediately fastened together, two and two, by handcuffs on their wrists and by irons rivetted on their legs… They are frequently stowed so close, as to admit of no other position than lying on their sides. Nor will the height between decks, unless directly under the grating, permit the indulgence of an erect posture… [On these decks] are placed three or four large buckets, of conical form… to which, when necessary, the Negroes have recourse. It often happens that those who are placed at a distance from the buckets, and endeavoring to get them, tumble over their companions, in sequence of their being shackled. These accidents, although unavoidable, are productive of continual quarrels in which some of them are always bruised. In this distressed situation, unable to proceed and prevented from getting to the tubs, they desist from the attempt; and as the necessities of nature are not to be resisted, ease themselves as they lie. This becomes a fresh source of boils and disturbances and tends to render the condition of the poor captive wretches still more uncomfortable… The place allotted for the sick Negroes is under the half deck, where they lie on the bare planks. By this means those who were emancipated frequently have their skin and even their flesh entirely rubbed off, by the motion of the ship, from the prominent parts of the shoulders, elbows and hips so as to render the bones quite bare. And some of them, by constant lying in the blood and mucus that had flowed from those afflicted with the flux and which is generally so violent as to prevent their being kept clean, having their flesh much sooner rubbed off than those who have only to contend with the mere friction of the ship. The excruciating pain, which the poor sufferers feel from being obliged to continue in such a dreadful situation, frequently for several weeks, in case they happen to live so long, is not to be conceived.” [2]

Often times, these conditions would lead to death. Also, there were cases in which the traders would throw overboard the sick, so as to save money through insurance as well as to lighten the load in harsh waters. There are many other accounts of the horrors endured in the Middle Passage, but the preceding quotations will suffice for the purpose of this article.

Now you might be thinking, “how could Britain put up with these horrors?”. One answer to that question is the fact that the Middle Passage was so far away from Britain that it just did not seem like a very real issue to them. Another answer is the amount of money and power that the slave traders and plantation owners had in order to persuade those who tried to stand against them. However, there were some in Britain who would not put up with these horrors, no matter what the cost.

One person who felt he had to do something was a young politician named William Wilberforce. Wilberforce had deep convictions that if he were not to stand up against this evil, he would be neglecting his responsibility as a Christian. So he, along with an interesting group of characters who shared the same desire to rid Britain of the slave trade, would spend twenty long years fighting for the lives of those in the slave trade through legislation in Parliament. They travelled across the British Empire collecting evidence, petitions, and abolitionists in order to open the eyes of the people to this great evil, hoping to win the support of the people in order to persuade Parliament to rid their nation of the slave trade. They wrote books, articles, and legislation that they continually presented to the public. Eventually, their efforts paid off when in 1807, Britain passed the Slave Trade Act, abolishing the slave trade throughout the British Empire, as well as subsequent legislation in 1833, in Britain abolished slavery itself with the Slavery Abolition Act. Wilberforce and his men had fought the good fight, and Wilberforce was able to see the results of that fight a few days before his death.

Now many of you may be thinking that this is a great story, that if you were in their shoes, you would be doing the same thing to defend the lives of those in need. Which leads to another question: what is an equivalent of the Middle Passage in our day? I am convinced that the answer to that question is abortion.

Like Britain, most people know of the horrors of abortion, but we have been kept so far from it by the media and fear tactics that most of us do not think that we need to do anything about it, because it doesn’t affect us. Most abortions are done quietly, with not many people hearing about their close friends and loved ones who have chosen this action. Those who support it have been able to persuade the people of this nation that it is not as bad as it seems, that it is just a normal part of society that doesn’t have any bad consequences and is morally right. However, I know that if the American people actually stopped what they were doing for a moment and looked at the issue of abortion, they would see that it is not much different than the Middle Passage.

I have already touched on the idea that it is quite hidden from the eyes of society, so let’s look at how much money is backing abortion. Planned Parenthood’s website states that the cost of the Abortion Pill is between $300 and $800 [3]. Their website also states that an in-clinic abortion costs between $300 and $950 in the first trimester [4]. Compass Care states that a second trimester abortion costs between $300 and $2000 [5]. Therefore, with America having over a million abortions a year, the abortion industry is at least a $300 million industry, taking the lowest number for all abortions. However, factoring in the amount of financial support that abortion providers receive from businesses, the government, and individuals, as well as the other costs for abortions, the abortion industry could easily be a $1 billion dollar industry. (See [6] for similar reasoning). That’s quite a bit of money that companies like Planned Parenthood would be losing, possibly even putting them out of business. Wouldn’t you think that they would do everything in their power to continue these abortions?

Now let’s look at an actual description of an abortion. This comes from a student who, after this procedure, realized the horrors of abortion. This description comes from the abortion of a child that the student claims “must have been less than 13 to 14 weeks”, which is close to the border between the first and second trimester.

“When I entered the operating room, it felt like any other I had ever been in. On the table in front of me, I saw a woman, legs up as if delivering a child although she was asleep. Next to her was a tray of instruments for the abortion and a vacuum machine for suctioning the fetal tissues from the uterus. The doctors put on their gowns and masks and the procedure began. The cervix was held open with a crude metal instrument and a large transparent tube was stuck inside of the woman. Within a matter of seconds, the machine’s motor was engaged and blood, tissue, and tiny organs were pulled out of their environment into a filter. A minute later, the vacuum choked to a halt. The tube was removed, and stuck to the end was a small body and a head attached haphazardly to it, what was formed of the neck snapped. The ribs had formed with a thin skin covering them, the eyes had formed, and the inner organs had begun to function. The tiny heart of the fetus, obviously a little boy, had just stopped — forever. The vacuum filter was opened, and the tiny arms and legs that had been torn off of the fetus were accounted for. The fingers and toes had the beginnings of their nails on them. The doctors, proud of their work, reassembled the body to show me. Tears welled up in my eyes as they removed the baby boy from the table and shoved his body into a container for disposal.” [7]

Does that sound normal? Does that not bring back memories of the description of the slave ship? Do you really want to live in a society where this type of procedure is morally acceptable, regardless of the reason, even if it be mere inconvenience? I won’t even go into the psychological affects that it may have on the woman, but I think we understand the point. Abortion is not much different than the slave trade. We say that we would have fought the slave trade if we had lived in that society, yet we choose to turn a deaf ear when we hear of the horrors of abortion.

Now I would like to ask a few other questions. What if William Wilberforce and his friends did not stand up against the evil that was the slave trade? Where would society be? We see in hindsight that what they did was a great and noble thing, but are we willing to take those same steps and risks in society today? Are we willing to bring to light the horrors that are hidden in our “Middle Passage”? Are we willing to go above and beyond, possibly to fight for twenty years or more before we are rid of this evil that has plagued our nation?

Luckily, North Dakota does not have to fight for twenty years. This November, the people of North Dakota get to make a stand against this evil by voting on a constitutional measure that will put in our state constitution that “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” [8] However, this legislation will not be passed if we sit idly by and hope that it will receive enough votes. We need to be opening the eyes of we the people to the horrors of abortion so that, just as it happened in Britain, the people will see no other choice but to rid our state and, eventually, our nation of this evil.

For those who said that they would stand with Wilberforce in the 1800’s, are you willing to make a stand now, here in your own state? The time has come for the people of North Dakota to show the world that we defend those who cannot defend themselves. When else in history has a group of people been able to make such a substantial legislative decision? I hope that you will not finish reading this article unchanged, but that it would grip you and motivate you to fight this battle until we stand on the other side of history and say that we were a part of the great push for the abolition of abortion.

I want to leave you with a few staggering statistics. Although there is debate about how many slaves were transported across the Middle Passage, it is estimated that 14 to 20 million Africans either died or were sold due to the slave trade, of whom between 10 and 14 million made it across the Atlantic [9]. Although I feel Wilberforce would have fought for even one slave who was sent across this ocean, these numbers were definitely enough to push him to spend almost his entire political career fighting the slave trade. Here, the final question arises. Wilberforce was willing to fight for the lives of 20 million African men and women, most whom he had never met. Are you willing to fight for the approximately 50 million unborn children who have been killed since 1973 and the millions more who will be killed every year abortion remains legal? [10]

– Nathan Joraanstad


[1] Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, pg. 97. Written by Eric Metaxas. Published by HarperOne, 2007. Much of the knowledge of Wilberforce throughout this article relies on this book.

[2] Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, pg. 97-98, 100

[3] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/abortion/abortion-pill-medication-abortion-4354.asp

[4] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/abortion/in-clinic-abortion-procedures-4359.asp

[5] http://www.compasscare.info/blog/how-much-does-abortion-cost

[6] http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_for_profit/

[7] http://www.lifenews.com/2013/10/15/pro-choice-medical-student-witnesses-abortion-becomes-pro-life/

[8] http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/63-2013/documents/13-3060-04000.pdf?20130624132237

[9] http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3034

[10] http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/ab-unitedstates.html

Love and Tolerance

Pro-life and pro-choice individuals have been clashing with words, theories, and laws for over 40 years now. The din hasn’t lessened, nor do I expect it to subside any time soon.  Having been a vocal pro-life advocate for several years, I often see and hear allegations and reactions from the abortion prone that can be hard to swallow.  What is most frustrating to me is how disinformation and phony empathy seem to be their tools of choice.

Here in Fargo, at the Red River Women’s Clinic, a group of volunteers have been coordinating Plants4Patients. As I understand, the volunteers make small clay pots, plant succulents, write a note of sympathy, and the clinic offers a plant to a patient as they leave their facility. Under almost any other circumstance, this sounds like sweet and thoughtful gesture to someone in pain, however, this is not “any other circumstance”.  Abortion isn’t an accident, a disease, or old age. Abortion is never the only option. Abortion is the intentional killing of your child. I am well aware that many girls and women who opt for abortion feel like it is the only remedy to what they view as a problem, while others opt for abortion as a matter of process; it’s just the last step. I find it difficult to express adequate sympathy to a parent who has lost their child through miscarriage, sickness, or accident, but to sit down and write a note to a girl who has chosen to intentionally cause the death of her child is twisted and grotesque. I find it shameful that the Red River Women’s clinic has agreed to participate in this program. Women aren’t dense, we know that when we’re pregnant the end result is always, one-hundred percent of the time, a baby. We grieve when a miscarriage ends a pregnancy not because a random clump of cells is eliminated but because that unique set of cells containing DNA, a beating heart, and a soul – our child, with 23 chromosomes from father and mother will not be met, held, and loved here on earth. Do they really think women are so unintelligent that they are going to be comforted by a plant from the same hand they paid to kill their child?

Another Pro-choice organization recently called to my attention is rife with hypocrisy. I discovered a short time ago that I was being denounced as an “Anti-Choice Bully”. The website, Voice of Choice, is protesting opponents of abortion and seeking to, “temper the rhetoric and hate”. So they’ve created a webpage explaining their mission and a search engine so you can locate “bullies” in your area complete with their Facebook page, picture, address, and phone number. Apparently these Bullies, “prey on the culture of fear and stigma that surrounds abortion”. Fear and stigma? if it was really that strong would we be seeing 3,700 abortions daily in the United States, and 25 each week in Fargo? The demonstrations and vigils I and many I know have participated in have never been violent, unsafe, or uncaring. Most activists try to demonstrate in front of the clinic as a presence and to pray; some approach clients to ask if all of their options have been explored and if they’d like other information. We don’t shout, demean, or express anger. We are reaching out with tender love and care to hopefully prevent a mother and family from the hurt of abortion and death of their child. Since I discovered the list of “bullies” a few weeks ago it is now five times the size and I’m sure is yet a work in progress. I’m waiting for the peaceful and calm phone call from someone concerned that I might be intimidating a woman, preventing her from killing her child through my presence and prayer.

It is easy to accuse those concerned about the ill-effects of abortion of having malicious intentions and a radical view, and to those who are in a desperate situation and feeling as though they have nobody to turn to, it is probably very easy to believe those false allegations.  This underscores the importance of our reaching these women FIRST and showing them that our primary concern is in fact, their health, well-being, and the life of their child.  It is an immediate response to what could amount to a lifetime of regret and self-destructive behavior as well as the death of a child who is wanted.  If the response is heeded, the subject could not only realize the love of the responder, but the peace of having made the decision to spare the life of their child, and preserve their own dignity without regret.  I have yet to hear of a woman who wished she had aborted her child.

Through the strength and love of Christ I will continue to pray both for those who oppose my stance and for those involved with abortion because it’s the most peaceful rhetoric I know.

– Lydia Trandem

Individualistic Marriage: The Result of a Self-Centric Culture on Other-Centric Marriage

Rachel Lu in her article “Millennials and Marriage” very well captures the sentiment many young adults have towards marriage.  I, being a “millennial” myself, and having attended a small liberal arts college in Minnesota similar to St. Thomas, where Lu teaches, have felt the same sentiment from my peers.


One experience keeps resonating in my mind where my friend was talking about her roommate who had come to college with the purpose of finding her future husband.  She was severely disappointed after many heart breaks and the reality that most of the guys at our college weren’t even close to looking for a spouse.  She came to our college to find a husband because 20 years or even 10 years prior, most that attended our small college left married or at least with a ring on their finger.  Why have things changed?  Why are we so afraid to get married?


The problem is that no one taught us about marriage; no one in our schools, our parents, or even our Universities all failed to prepare us for one of the most drastic changes that most of us will experience.  Lu discovered this when her students expressed their wishes that they were taught more about marriage.  The truth is 70% of young adults still desire to get married, so it is something important to us and we want to be prepared.  If marriage is still desired by young people why aren’t we getting married?


Lu explains how while marriage is still important to us, it is now a lesser priority.  Marriage is something to accomplish after an education and career are established.  Lu alludes to the marriage problem we have, but doesn’t go into much detail.  We obviously have a problem with marriage, but why?


One thing that contributes is the dissonance between the picture perfect feelings-based romance the media has sold us and reality.  All of us have witnessed the pain of divorce; if not in our own families, in the families of those close to us.  Growing up we saw our parents or friends’ parents fall out of love and break apart their families.  Our friends cried to us and expressed how they felt their parents’ divorce was their fault.  We put our arm around our friend, reassuring them that it wasn’t their fault and wonder, “Is marriage worth the heart ache?”  No wonder why we are so hesitant to make a commitment that is so often broken. 


The problem with society’s view of marriage is that we tend to put ourselves first.  This is becoming even more so as we are shifting from a religious, family-based economy to a secular, individualistic one (Potrykus & Fagan, 2011).  We have always been a country where we value hard work and individual achievement, but it has been falling into the extreme. 


The negative effects of an extreme value system have been experienced throughout history.  In World War II, an extreme value of one’s national identity led to the death of hundreds of thousands who differed.  Our own history has even shown our own weakness as our individual selfish desires for wealth led to the African Slave Trade and the most bloody war in our history.  I’ve spent some time in Uganda where the value of relationship can go too far and turn into a poor work ethic because conversations are more important than work.  All our cultures have their strengths and weaknesses that we need to be aware of.


You’d think we’d be keenly aware of our weakness to make individual wealth a priority after it has caused the pain of many, but sometimes we fail to learn from history.  Our blindness to our cultural weakness is one major piece of the puzzle when trying to grapple with the crumbling state of marriage in the United States. 


Our self-centric weakness is evident in Lu’s article.  The students express that they want to be successful before marriage.  Really what I know many of us feel deep down is, “I can be successful on my own.  I don’t need anyone to take my focus off my career.  A spouse would definitely hinder my ability to be successful.”  And let’s be honest success in the United States equals material wealth.  Why do we put so much value in something that is fleeting?  As Lu points out, careers are not so stable anymore.  We need something that is attainable and purpose filled.  A career can’t promise this, especially in a time when careers are more difficult to secure.  As Lu writes, “The unemployed young, in particular, will end up rootless, purposeless, and lacking the stability that marriage and commitment can provide.”  Our priorities are skewed.  We put something that is fleeting above something that can last, bring purpose to our lives, and has so many benefits.


Doesn’t this point us back to our Creator who created marriage for a purpose?  God created marriage to reflect His covenant with us; a covenant that never breaks and is loving above anything else.  Is love easy?  No, out of love Christ died for us.  Love requires sacrifice and maybe marriages wouldn’t break apart so easily if we’d put the same type of work ethic into our marriages as our careers.  When we are willing to sacrifice our selfish desires for the good of our families something quite miraculous happens; it works.  What is even more astonishing is how sacrificial love draws out the love and respect of others.  God’s design is good and perfect.  Soli Deo Gloria!



This post is in response Rachel Lu’s article entitled, “Millennials and Marriage” in The Public Discourse.  To read the full article click here.


To read more about the benefits of marriage please read “Marriage One Foundation”, a paper by North Dakota Family Alliance.

Abortion Activists Define Their Agenda, In Their Own Words.

On Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, has taken legal action to strike down recently passed SB 2305, which requires that abortionists have local hospital admitting privileges.  The bill is scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2013.

The 2013 legislature in discussing and passing SB 2305 fully understood the medical procedure involved in an abortion, and determined for the safety and well-being of the woman seeking an abortion the itinerant physician should have admitting privileges at a local hospital.  If a complication were to occur as a result of the procedure, this arrangement would provide the very best in a continuance of care for the woman.

In a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, they say to the state, (you) “don’t care about your (the woman’s) health; (you) don’t care about your (the woman’s) safety”.   Wait a minute, the bill provides for a continuum of care for a medical procedure for a woman, and they are opposing the bill because of health and safety???  They say this is an attack on the women of your state.  To provide greater medical care for women is an attack on women???

Nancy Northup, Center for Reproductive Rights goes on, “we are going to keep the full range of reproductive health care safe, legal, and accessible to all women”  First, SB 2305 does not address the ‘legal’ or ‘accessible’ issues, and only enhances the ‘safety’ factor.  Do they really believe that North Dakotans, and especially women, are going to buy such a disingenuous argument?

Subtly, or not subtly nestled into the statement is ‘full range of reproductive health care’.   That statement coupled with another by Autumn Katz, staff attorney at the Center and lead attorney on the case, where Katz references the “protected right to an abortion”, provides a clear understanding of the abortion activist agenda.  The ‘full range’ and ‘right to an abortion’ equate to ‘abortion on demand’.  Their agenda seeks an absolute right to abortion with no limitation or regulation.

Bearing out this agenda of an absolute ‘abortion on demand’ in all instances, the Center will also litigate HB 1305 which prohibits an abortion in conjunction with sex selection or genetic abnormality.  In other words, the Center and Red River Women’s Clinic approve of selectively terminating the life of an unborn baby because he/she is not the right gender or the unborn may have a genetic abnormality such as Down’s syndrome.

According to the press release, quote “Our message back to politicians….is crystal clear…”  Yes, your message is crystal clear.  It seeks absolute abortion on demand in all instances.  Even in light of the explicit testimony of the horrendous atrocities committed by Gosnell in Philadelphia, their agenda remains the same-no limitation or regulation on abortion.

This agenda is not shared by the people of North Dakota.  That is not who we are.  Who in North Dakota favors selectively taking the life of an unborn baby because he/she is not the right sex?  Who would want to withhold a continuum of health care in the event of complications with a medical procedure?  Even those who consider themselves to be neither fully pro-life or pro-abortion cannot agree to this extreme, radical agenda.

In their own words they have defined who they are and their agenda.  They failed to mention the unborn, even once.  They say they are for the ‘women’s rights’, but are they really?  They mention ‘constitutional and human rights’, but do not apply these human rights to the unborn.  Their agenda becomes clearer each day.

Desperate times require desperate measures.  It would appear the absolute ‘abortion on demand’ industry is sensing the overwhelming  ‘sea change’ of support for the human rights of the unborn, and are willing to employ desperate measures.  These desperate measures calling our ‘politicians hostile’ will not intimidate us or the cause to stand for the most vulnerable among us -the unborn, nor the real well-being and safety of women.

To read the press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, in conjunction with the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo,  click here to read the press release from the CRR

Contact the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Red River Women’s Clinic–tell them (in truth, grace, and love) that we do not agree with their agenda, and will not be intimidated, and will not stand down.


Response to NDSU & Planned Parenthood Sex-Ed Program

NDSU & Planned Parenthood Partnership

Response to April 2nd Forum Article

The article’s opening paragraph sets the tone for the entire article, setting up the issue as an “attack on women and families”. Not only is this premise inaccurate and disingenuous, it mocks the integrity of women and wonderful purpose of family.

For all the talking points ‘sound bites’ sprinkled throughout the article, it fails to mention the real purpose of the program—to inform teenagers of their options; before, during, and after they have had sex outside of a married relationship. For according to the ‘comprehensive sex education’ taught by Planned Parenthood, a partner in the program, it is a given teenagers will have sex and we need to focus on eliminating the unwanted pregnancy. The unborn baby becomes the problem, an obstacle which needs to be eliminated.

The program’s clientele is identified as “at risk Fargo teens”. “At risk” of what? At risk of not hearing that family planning is really about when having sex, try to protect yourself from disease and an unwanted pregnancy by wearing a condom, and if a pregnancy occurs—eliminate the problem by way of abortion. Is this really what our ‘at risk’ teens need to hear? And then to add insult to injury, the program’s strategy is to disseminate the program’s indoctrination to the ‘at risk’ teen’s peers.

The article ridicules the legislature for trying to meddle in affairs they don’t know anything about, especially without a public hearing. It was ironic that as news broke of this program partnering with Planned Parenthood, there was no ‘hearing’ responding to the public. Pres. Bresciani’s only consideration was if it was legal, not whether it was the right thing to do. And now that the legislature would clarify the legality by passing legislation, the cry is “how dangerous” and how “incredibly unusual”.

Yes it is “incredibly unusual” that a university program would reach down to 15 year olds to indoctrinate a vulnerable, at risk group. Should it be “incredibly unusual” that “politicians”, whom we would call the public policy decision makers, would have an interest in the well-being of our children. In 2011, the issue was debated in detail and the legislature passed an abstinence bill to be implemented in public and private schools.

The article criticizes legislative involvement, touting it should be left to “health professionals”, with no guidance short of a “family planning model” from Planned Parenthood. Should we should trust Planned Parenthood rather than the collective legislative wisdom of those representing the people?

The North Dakota Century Code clearly gives preference to life versus abortion and to abstinence education. North Dakota law and the program planned at NDSU in partnership with Planned Parenthood are in direct conflict. Legislators need to set the policy direction.


NDSU & Planned Parenthood

Not a Good Idea for North Dakota, Especially Women

There has been resistance this week by both professors at NDSU and the legislature relating to the amendment proposed to end a sex education program that is a partnership between NDSU and Planned Parenthood. A 1.2 million dollar federal grant was given to NDSU to begin a Planned Parenthood program for at-risk teens. Those who oppose the amendment argue that the program could prevent the need for abortion.

After the passage of several life bills this month, it is clear that North Dakotans do not see a need for abortion and that we believe it is morally wrong to end life. The partnership between NDSU and Planned Parenthood is of the state’s interests because it contradicts the values of the majority of North Dakotans by partnering with an organization that performs abortions.

Abortion has ended the lives of about 305,000 babies so far this year alone in the United States. Does Planned Parenthood really seek to prevent abortion when only 1 adoption is referred per 392 abortions performed? There are crisis pregnancy centers in almost every major city across the state that can already help women with unplanned pregnancies that seek life affirming alternatives. There is no need for a Planned Parenthood Program.

The partnership between NDSU and Planned Parenthood could be in response to the 2011 bill that enacted abstinence-only education in public schools. The fact is that at-risk teens do have access to sex education at school, but this is a way for Planned Parenthood to get their message of contraception, sexual health, abortion, and advocacy for sexual activity, to minors. The language of Planned Parenthood about abstinence reads,

People may find it difficult to abstain for long periods of time and may end their period of abstinence without being prepared to protect themselves against pregnancy or infection… Most people stop being abstinent at some point in their lives.”

This language attacks abstinence education because it assumes that abstinence will be ended. It also implies that pregnancy is like a disease because it is both paired with disease and stresses the importance of prevention. This language is also appealing to younger generations who are easily convinced by arguments that persuade through peer pressure and the difficulty of alternatives. Other language used by Planned Parenthood includes, “You can only do what’s best for you” and that language creates a selfish mindset that dismisses the needs of an unborn child. Planned Parenthood wants to bring this message to not only teens, but teens who most likely don’t have parents or absent parents. The program responds to the breakdown of the family in a way that destroys future families.

Planned Parenthood would not only be harmful to these vulnerable teens, but to women. Abortion is 4 times deadlier than a mother carrying to term (Elliot Institute, 2000) and abortion can also cause infertility (Danforth, 1993). There is a risk for emotional trauma that has been termed PAS (post abortion syndrome) that increases the threat for relationship difficulties, future abortions, suicide, and substance abuse (Rue, Speckhard, Rogers, & Franz 1987). As medical doctor Wanda Franz explained to US Congress in 1989, “They feel worthless, and victimized because they failed at the most natural of human activities – the role of being a mother”. Feminism should value all human life from male to female, and from conception until death. Doing otherwise would be hypocritical.

One thing is clear; North Dakota has an interest in protecting its citizens. We must protect vulnerable teens from the message of abortion Planned Parenthood advocates and we must protect women from the harmful effects of abortive procedures. The future of North Dakota and our families depends on these protections.