Lost in the media celebration following the Attorney General Opinion on the NDSU issue is the fact that nothing has changed. This legal opinion addressed an internal issue at NDSU, but the fundamental questions raised by many last month about the Obamacare grant remain unanswered.
1) Why is the federal government spending $1.2 million of taxpayer dollars to push the agenda of a private organization – Planned Parenthood?
2) What are Planned Parenthood’s objectives in North Dakota?
3) If the federal government is offering “free money” are we obligated to accept it without question?
4) Can and should a public institution or a political subdivision in North Dakota go against the express wishes of the legislature?
There are many additional questions about this $1.2 million grant that remain to be answered. From reports, the money is coming from the federal government under Obamacare to fund a Planned Parenthood program through NDSU. What are the strings attached to this funding? If the state already has an accepted program on this subject why is Planned Parenthood so interested in implementing their program? As taxpayers, is this study a good and proper use of our money?
And, this is not the first time that a public institution has gone around legislative action. In 2010, the legislature questioned the Department of Public Instruction about a scheduled Planned Parenthood program. We brought the issue to light and the program was cancelled, but as soon as the legislative session ended that program was offered by NDSU.
But this is a much bigger issue than the details about this specific grant. It is a question of authority within the state of North Dakota. Many in the legislature are concerned with our state’s dependence on money from the federal government. This is not “free money” in any sense. The federal government is broke and a large portion of federal funding we receive is actually borrowed money. And it always comes with strings attached.
As the legislature moves to reduce our dependence on federal funding should political subdivisions or public entities go around that legislative action and accept the money or programs directly from the federal government? Or from any source that has been examined and debated by the legislature, and found to be against the will of the people?
The questions remain, now let us move forward and address the real issues.