On Thursday, April 6, 2023, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed into law HB 1265, which enacts a new section in North Dakota Century Code regarding growth and development in human sexuality.
The bill, passed by the North Dakota Senate in a 37-9 vote on March 29, mandates that schools show a medically accurate, cutting-edge, high-definition video in the classroom to educate students on preborn human development in each week of pregnancy until birth.
The model video presented by State Senator Janne Myrdal for schools to use was a version of Live Action’s human development video known as “Baby Olivia.” Senate House Bill 1265 was sponsored by Senator Myrdal, who believes the video will enhance classroom discussion on human life.
“Human development in the womb is obviously a part of science, something we want our children to learn and see… what I would call a divine concept,” said Senator Myrdal from the floor.
Under HB 1265, both health curriculum and human sexuality instruction must show a high definition video showing the development of vital organs in early fetal development. Seeing human growth and development in two separate classes will enhance scholastic excellence and will now be the state standard in schools across North Dakota before high school graduation.
Lila Rose, Founder and President of Live Action, released the following statement:
When people learn the truth about the humanity of children in the womb, and the barbaric procedures abortionists use to kill them, they change. They become pro-life. North Dakota has taken a huge leap forward towards a more comprehensive understanding of how every human person began by ensuring all 116,639 students in North Dakota will be shown the truth of human development [… with] one of the options presented for school district use being Live Action’s cutting-edge educational video Baby Olivia.
Many people mistakenly believe that most prenatal development occurs late in pregnancy. But, in fact, babies even in the first trimester are rapidly developing and amazingly complex.
Just two weeks after fertilization, the developing baby’s brain appears with its three divisions, and a heart is developing as well, beginning to beat between 16 and 22 days after fertilization. Just 4-5 weeks after fertilization, the eyes and lungs appear, and kidneys form. Just a week later (6-7 weeks after fertilization) brain waves begin, and hands, feet, and limbs appear and begin to move. The heart has become four-chambered by this point as well. By the start of the fetal stage (around 9 weeks post-fertilization), a baby girl will have already developed ovaries with eggs in them, and the baby can suck her thumb, move her tongue, open her mouth, and more. According to the Endowment for Human Development, “right- and left-handedness emerges” at this point.
All of this occurs before the end of the first trimester, a point at which research has also shown that humans in the womb likely have the ability to feel pain. Showing fetal development through the use of tools like Baby Olivia will give students a window into the womb.
With cutting edge animation and medically accurate information, students will see every stage of human development for every week of pregnancy until birth. The video notes significant markers in cell growth and development for every week of pregnancy, such as the baby’s heart, brain, and lungs.
In addition, Senator Myrdal believes the educational video will save lives from abortion.
“I was inspired by Live Action’s Baby Olivia video so I drafted legislation showing students the divine journey that every human being experiences,” said Senator Myrdal. “North Dakota is an agricultural state that nourishes, sustains, and cultivates life. This new step will cultivate curiosity in the classroom, enhances students’ understanding of human biology and build a culture of life in North Dakota. I look forward to seeing educators show Baby Olivia in classrooms in North Dakota and states beyond.”
Lawmakers who opposed the bill argued they didn’t want to walk down a slippery slope by telling schools how to teach. Supporters of the bill replied by saying they are already doing this through mandated anti-bullying programs, Native American history lessons, and school abstinence programs.
North Dakota is the first state to mandate that schools show a high definition video of human growth and development week by week in the womb in the school system. With this bill’s passage, it is possible that other states will follow suit.
While some politicians are debating practical next steps for life, Senator Myrdal is driving forward bold and innovative pro-life policies that both captivate and educate the hearts and minds of students on the truth and beauty of human life, from the moment of conception to the moment of birth.
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