Video: North Dakota Lawmaker Apparently Didn’t Know That Abortion Is Legal in His State

Rep. Jeff Magrum, a Republican from Hazelton, speaks on the floor of the North Dakota House.

Today the North Dakota House of Representatives took up in a floor debate HB1319.

This is touchy legislation. It would make it possible for children put up for adoption to obtain a copy of their birth record which would identify his/her biological parents. Currently the parents, specifically the mother, can opt for a closed record. This law would make it possible for the children, once they’re adults, to figure out who their parents are.

“Isn’t abortion illegal in North Dakota?” Magrum asked a stunned House chamber.

I can understand the motivations to both sides of this discussion, but when the issue of abortion came up things went off the rails.

State Rep. Lawrence Klemin, a Republican from Bismarck who carried the bill to the floor, stated that during committee testimony some expressed the concern that disallowing closed birth records would make more women opt for abortion instead of adoption.

A reasonable point.

But then Rep. Jeff Magrum, a first term Republican from Hazelton who is also the prime sponsor of the bill, stood up and asked why that would be a concern if abortion is illegal in our state.

“Isn’t abortion illegal in North Dakota?” Magrum asked a stunned House chamber.

The answer, from a clearly nonplussed Klemin, was a stuttering no.

You’ve really got to see it to believe it:

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I don’t care what side of the abortion issue you’re on – I’m pro-life, myself – this is embarrassing. That a lawmaker wouldn’t know the status of such a top-line political issue is inexcusable.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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