After the 2021 legislative session, Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law Senate Bill 2030, legislation that restricts state college ties with abortion providers. If a North Dakota University System (NDUS) institution partners with an organization that supports abortion rights, the institution is then ineligible for funds under the Higher Education Challenge Grant.
The new law has led to a lot of confusion among administrators, faculty, students, and staff at NDUS campuses.
What’s allowed and what’s not? The ACLU of North Dakota has some answers.
Students: Know Your Rights
Can organizations that support abortion rights, like Planned Parenthood, table on campus?
- Yes, they can! This can happen if they rent a table themselves or are invited by a student-lead campus organization.
Can students still intern/work for abortion rights organizations such as Planned Parenthood?
- Yes! The law doesn’t limit what students can do with organizations such as Planned Parenthood as it would be an infringement on academic freedom to deny students’ this opportunity.
How does this affect me as a student?
- As a student, your academic freedoms are still protected under the current interpretation of SB 2030’s implementation. If you have questions or concerns, ask your faculty or see below to seek more information.
Faculty and Staff: Know Your Rights
Can faculty or staff invite organizations that support abortion rights, such as Planned Parenthood, to speak in class?
- Yes, this is still permitted. As long as they are invited as guests, they are welcome to present on campus.
How will this affect textbook usage?
- It will not. Textbook selection is part of the protections of academic freedom in the First Amendment as classroom speech.
How will this new law affect grants?
- NDUS institutions may not fund or enter into a contract with organizations that support abortion rights. This includes restrictions on partnering with out-of-state colleagues who may be contracted with such organizations. This does not pertain to nursing, medicine, and health science.
Can we discuss abortion on campus and in class?
- Yes. Classroom lectures, discussions, and assigned readings related to abortion are protected as academic free speech under the First Amendment — as are any conversations about abortion on campus outside the classroom.
What is no longer allowed in the wake of SB 2030?
- Essentially, it bars any NDUS school from having NDUS funding connections to organizations that provide information, education, or services relating to abortion care. This does not, however, include any measures that would violate academic freedom or student free speech or expression or the First Amendment rights of the public.
Where can I find more information?
- More information on interpreting the implications of SB 2030 can be found in the Letter Opinion 2021-L-02 issued by the North Dakota Attorney General and available on attorneygeneral.nd.gov.
The North Dakota University System includes:
- North Dakota State University
- University of North Dakota
- Dickinson State University
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- Valley City State University
- Bismarck State College
- Lake Region State College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- North Dakota State College of Science
- Williston State College
Please note: This page, last updated in September 2022, is a resource, not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. North Dakota may revise its laws after this is printed or published online. If you believe your rights have been violated or for more information on your rights, contact us at aclund.org or email email@example.com.