When Planned Parenthood Attacks: How a Pro-Life Mom and State Rep. Lost Her Seat Serving North Dakota

Bette Grande: In North Dakota, we've always had a very strong pro-life stance – from conception to natural death, we protect each life.

We voted on a law to stop physician-assisted suicide, as well as making sure North Dakotans are knowledgeable on issues like living will and power of medical attorney before it becomes something they are facing and cannot mentally handle. It is critically important for people's lives to understand these issues.

We've always had a broad view of life issues. I've never liked the label "anti-abortion"; I do pro-life work. It's an argument I had consistently with an Associated Press reporter during my time in office.

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Words matter and the pro-abortion side has been successful in the battle over words. The AP Stylebook works against us on life issues. To some it may seem like a minor thing to be called ''pro-life" rather than "anti-abortion" – but in the battle for hearts and minds, we need to be clear.

Through various programs, we worked to ensure the mother is taken care of throughout the pregnancy – that there is awareness of real alternatives to abortion, full disclosure and informed consent.

Bound4LIFE: You gained national attention with the North Dakota Human Heartbeat Protection Act passed in 2013. Why was this bill crafted specifically based on the pre-born baby's heartbeat?

Bette Grande: We have to go back to 2009. One bill that I put in ensured that women would be afforded the opportunity to see their ultrasound prior to the abortion and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.

We've gained great knowledge about life in the womb over the past 40 years. Having the mention of a baby's heartbeat seemed like a natural thing to include; we simply saw it as the right policy.

When the pro-abortion side filed a lawsuit against that law, the heartbeat aspect was one of their biggest concerns. They became so upset with the thought of an expectant mother hearing her baby's heartbeat. The judge did not agree with their viewpoint. But it intrigued me that they argued against this so strongly.

This legislation in 2009 also included a provision that chemical abortions must adhere to FDA guidelines. We began seeing this trend of webcam abortions coming to North Dakota.

Abortion providers have been going off-label with how they use RU-486, attempting for it to be used far later in pregnancy than what the FDA allows. They're giving all three doses of the drug to the pregnant woman, so she does not have to come back to the abortion center. It saves cost, but it raises the risk of health complications.

We fought this in court, which went all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court. It took nearly two years for them to rule on it, but we won that case. Now it is the law in this state: chemical abortions must adhere to FDA guidelines.

The rise of chemical abortions in this nation has been rapid, and people do not even realize it. They are being done via telemedicine, which should be concerning to everyone.

We found it important to focus the discussion on the life in the womb. There were two main bills in 2013 for me. The first bill was the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. People were not understanding what was happening in these later term abortions, particularly the gender discrimination happening against girls.

We have ADA laws in the United States to ensure we do not discriminate against the disabled. Yet abortionists are discriminating when over 90% of children with Down Syndrome are being aborted.

It's a shameful thing in our society that we feel we can discriminate inside the womb, making a determination about the worth of another person's life based on criteria like presumed productivity.

Do we as a society want to look into the womb and determine someone else's outcome in life, before they've ever had a chance to take their first breath? I believe it sets a very scary precedent, and it's important for people to start having a discussion on this.

Bound4LIFE: How did you as a legislator approach these complex issues of caring for both mothers and pre-born children?

Bette Grande: Whether it's a money issue or needing parenting skills or a boyfriend issue where the woman may need protection, we want to be there for her in all these ways.

We have laid a lot of groundwork to love them both – it's never been just about the unborn child, it's also about the soon-to-be new mother.

We want women to have access to services like our First Choice clinics and parenting centers, where they can go and stay even after the birth of the child. They are cared for in these places, and we want them to receive as much help as possible.

After 10 years on staff at The Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family, Josh M. Shepherd currently serves in communications at Bound4LIFE International – a faith-based pro-life group. Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE.

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