South Dakota has thrown down the gauntlet to those who support a womanâ€™s right to choose to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. Yesterday, the legislature approved a measure that would â€œmake it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the womanâ€™s life. It would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.â€? The bill will become law once the governor, Mike Rounds, signs it. He has expressed a willingness to do so, saying: â€œIâ€™ve indicated Iâ€™m pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong and that we should do everything we can to save lives.â€? Well, itâ€™s nice to know that the governor and his fellow humanitarians in the legislature are so concerned about saving lives. Unfortunately, their rhetoric does not entirely stand up to the facts, which suggest that the state of South Dakotaâ€”perhaps distracted by the plight of the unbornâ€”often fails to meet the needs of the born.
The following statistics are courtesy of the Childrenâ€™s Defense Fund:
â€¢ A child in South Dakota is abused or neglected every 2 hours.
â€¢ A child in South Dakota is born into poverty every 4 hours.
â€¢ A child in South Dakota dies before his or her first birthday every 5 days.
â€¢ A child or teen in South Dakota is killed by gunfire every month.
â€¢ South Dakota ranks 46th among states in the percent of babies born to mothers who received early prenatal care.
â€¢ South Dakota ranks 44th among states in per pupil expenditures.
â€¢ South Dakota ranks 31st among states in infant mortality.
A state-by-state analysis of â€œAmericaâ€™s Health Rankingsâ€? conducted last year by United Health Foundation determined that South Dakota had â€œa high rate of motor vehicle deathsâ€? (47th among states) and â€œa high occupational fatalities rateâ€? (46th among states). Just this month, the American College of Emergency Physicians issued a report that graded each of the 50 states in such areas as Access to Emergency Care, Quality of Care and Patient Safety, Public Health and Injury Protection, etc. South Dakota was the only state to receive a failing grade (F) in both of the latter two categories. Undeterred by their failings, the politicos in South Dakota have chosen to expend their energies and taxpayer dollars on legislation like the Womenâ€™s Health and Human Life Protection Act. One can only imagine that their next order of business will be to designate the human embryo as the official state life form.
Before Governor Rounds signs the bill into law and the battle over its legality begins, I believe that he needs to be given a strong message that such legislation is unacceptable and will have dire consequences. I urge you to contact the governor, either by e-mailing him through his website or by calling (1-605-773-3212) or faxing (1-605-773-5844) his office. I also encourage you to take action by boycotting Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, etc. and denying the state of South Dakota your tourist dollars. Let the governor know that you will not visit South Dakota and will actively seek to dissuade others from visiting the state until such time as the Womenâ€™s Health and Human Life Protection Act is vetoed or repealed. E-mail a copy of this post (or its link) to anyone you know who is concerned about reproductive rights and values choice. Thank you.