Boycott Mount Rushmore — Protest Ban on Abortion

South Dakota has thrown down the gauntlet to those who support a woman’s right to choose to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. Yesterday, the legislature approved a measure that would “make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman’s life. It would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.� The bill will become law once the governor, Mike Rounds, signs it. He has expressed a willingness to do so, saying: “I’ve indicated I’m pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong and that we should do everything we can to save lives.� Well, it’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 Dakota—perhaps distracted by the plight of the unborn—often fails to meet the needs of the born.

The following statistics are courtesy of the Children’s Defense Fund:

• A child in South Dakota is abused or neglected every 2 hours.
• A child in South Dakota is born into poverty every 4 hours.
• A child in South Dakota dies before his or her first birthday every 5 days.
• A child or teen in South Dakota is killed by gunfire every month.
• South Dakota ranks 46th among states in the percent of babies born to mothers who received early prenatal care.
• South Dakota ranks 44th among states in per pupil expenditures.
• South Dakota ranks 31st among states in infant mortality.

A state-by-state analysis of “America’s Health Rankings� conducted last year by United Health Foundation determined that South Dakota had “a high rate of motor vehicle deaths� (47th among states) and “a high occupational fatalities rate� (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 Women’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 Women’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.

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13 responses

  1. Other sites are also suggesting boycotting SD businesses. These include Citibank, Gateway Computers, Iams Pet Food, and Wall Drug. This will help increase pressure on the governor and legislature.

  2. I’m unclear on the connection between banning abortion and all of South Dakota’s social ills. It seems to me that they’re making at least some progress in saying, “Well, at least in-utero people will be safe.”

  3. Would The Rhode Island legislature pass a bill to protect the freedom of choice if Roe v Wade is overturned?

  4. Araujo, I would say most definitely RI will pass a bill to protect freedom of choice. I seem to remember seeing surveys showing Rhode Islanders are in favor of choice at a ratio of about 2 to 1 over pro-life.

    In South Dakota, things may be quite different.

    Christina, I am not going to argue with you, as beliefs about abortion are often deep-seated and most people are not open to changing these beliefs. I will say, however, that in my experience as a social worker, the “in-utero safety” that you point to is quite questionable. Prenatal care for the poor is often non-existent or inadequate, especially if the pregnancy is unplanned and unwanted. Think about it: if you’re 12 years old and impregnated by your alcoholic uncle, what are the chances that you will be involved in adequate prenatal care, particularly early on?

  5. Apparently, I am not the only one advocating for a boycott of South Dakota tourist attractions. An article by Dan Daly in today’s Rapid City Journal reports on a Madison, Wisconsin group, the Women’s Medical Fund, which is now advocating for the same thing. The link for the article is as follows:

    http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2006/02/25/news/top/news02.txt

  6. I can understand your unhappiness with the recent abortion decision, but why would you want to hurt the people who live and work in South Dakota? How will a boycott of Citibank and Iams help your cause? If one believes your statistics (which I find suspect by the way), it’s already pretty tough living in SD. Will hurting the state financially make it better for those struggling?

  7. A good question, Mike. I will look into it and say more later.

  8. There appears to be a split in the liberal blogs — some supporting the idea of boycotting SD, others not. On the pro-boycott side there is Jane Hamsher and Atrios, to name two. On the con side are these:
    http://roxanne.typepad.com/rantrave/2006/02/on_boycotts.html
    http://pandagon.net/2006/02/24/red-state-women-are-still-citizens/

    Some are opposed for the reason that it would further punish a state that is economically struggling, and those at the bottom of the food chain would suffer the worst. Others are opposed because they see it as an ineffective tool. Neil the ethical Werewolf, guest-blogging for Ezra Klein, thinks it will “feed the regionalism monster” and lead to more divisiveness between the “coastal elite” and the people in the middle of the country who have massive inferiority complexes.

    A good point is made in the article which David cites above. It describes how the Governor of Idaho vetoed similar legislation in 1990, after pro-choice groups called for a boycott of Idaho potatoes. Quote from the article: “It isn’t clear what effect the potato boycott threat actually had. Then-Gov. Cecil Andrus vetoed the abortion bill, citing an aversion to out-of-state pressure.”

    I would argue that boycotting South Dakota tourism and corporations would have more of a perceptual impact than a real financial impact. For example, if Gateway gets a bunch of emails from people saying they won’t buy their product because they are upset with South Dakota’s reproductive rights policies and how they will affect women, perhaps one of their executives will call up the governor and say, “You know, this new law is really causing us a lot of grief over here, with people calling and emailing from all over the country.” Then maybe the Governor will feel that he is jeopardizing one of the state’s biggest employers, and possibly he will rethink his position on abortion.

    Beyond that I would say that if some people in South Dakota suffer as a result of boycotts, it would be unfortunate, but in my subjective view, there is a greater good in protecting reproductive freedom for all women. You may not agree, and I respect that.

  9. Interesting. The blogger Neil you cite makes a lot of sense. Boycotts are more affective when they target a specific company for actions it is responsible for, or when dealing with another country, such as diamonds in South Africa during apartheid. But with such interdependence I think it a mistake to boycott a state. South Dakota is part of our country, and we all benefit from it successes and failures.

    Furthermore, abortion is such a polarizing issue that no company wants to make a commitment to either position, the risk alienating a large segment of the population too great.

    I’ll check out the other sites you linked. Thanks.

  10. I support your cause and my sister fought against the Hyde Amendment in Washington DC about 15 years ago which would have banned abortion.

    My recommendation is to get massive media coverage on your boycott. You would be amazed at how quickly media picks up issues that affect American’s personal freedoms. This boycott can work big time if you get strong allies like leaders in Air America, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, and other womens rights and progressive groups. I have also wrote the above organizations in order to get them angry and focused enough to support and promote the boycott. You need to contact the Democratic Party of South Dakota and give them the figures about what a boycott would do. No conventions in South Dakota any more! Educated women from big American companies would never attend any conferences in South Dakota. No more purchasing of beef products. Get women at large beef buyers to contact the Governor that if he signs the bill, no more beef sales. Get women to cancel upcoming events scheduled in South Dakota. Get women at large tourist organizations to contact the governor and boycott any future events. Get the thousands of women in the Democratic Party to support the boycott. You need the assistance of the leaders in the Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW to take up the workload.

    The following is a letter that I sent to the South Dakota Democratic Party. As the letter states, I have emailed CNN, ABC, MSNBC and CBS with the hipocracy of South Dakota both trying to ban abortion and the teaching of contraception in the schools.. This is an act that will outrage the american silent majority and wake up to these Taliban style crazies who what to take our rights away. I am an educated man and support womens rights as this makes us a better society.

    The Democratic Party is supposed to stand up for the average American, including women.

    I am a Democrat and support living in a free society, not a society like the Taliban, a state your legislature would like America to be. Now is the time for any democratic leaders with any backbone to stand up and let your governor know loud and clear, that educated, freedom loving Americans will not be visiting your state or buying your beef for a long time. And it is the familes and democrats that will suffer for the acts of your extremist, unamerican legislature. I agree that abortion needs to avoided, but making criminals out of doctors and innocent women is not the answer.

    Your democratic leaders may be the only hope to get this abortion ban bill killed before you feel the economic hardships as American women and freedom loving people will be avoiding your state like the plague.

    Email sent to CNN, ABC, MSNBC and CBS executive producers, news groups, editors

    South Dakota is awaiting the governor’s signature on banning abortion, even when a woman is raped or in cases of incest.

    From the article below, South Dakota wants to ban teaching contraception in school. This is an extremist state that would like American women to be treated like the Taliban.

    CNN needs to break the hypocrisy of this story, with South Dakota both trying to ban abortion and not allowing teenagers information about contraception. THIS IS SICKENING AND UNAMERICAN.

    The boycott is on and hopefully the governor will not sign the abortion bill, otherwise South Dakota will feel the huge economic fall out. Educated women will not be attending any events in conferences in South Dakota.

    Regards,

    Troy Smith
    Monrovia, CA

    Article below:

    Measure would drop requirement to teach about contraception
    KELLY WIESE
    Associated Press
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Eighteen-year-old Sarah Barasch says she has a friend who is sexually active and worries her peer doesn’t think about potential results, such as disease.
    Sharing those concerns, she told legislators Wednesday that school is the place students need to learn about contraception and that it’s dangerous not to teach them.
    Her testimony came as a House panel considered legislation that would drop a requirement that schools include information on contraception in their human sexuality courses. Although schools could still teach about contraception, they would only be required to tell students they could seek information about contraception, abortion and pregnancy from their doctors.
    “All of us as teens want good, factual information, and we want it to be complete,” Barasch, a senior at Parkway North High School in the St. Louis area, told the House Children and Families Committee. “Teens participate in sexual behavior unaware of the consequences.”
    Supporters said the proposed change in law would set minimum standards but would not prevent any school from still teaching contraception. Some critics, however, expressed concerns about how far a school could go.
    Sponsoring Rep. Cynthia Davis said medical providers are a more appropriate place for teens to get information on contraceptives.
    “We’re not expecting the public school to do everything,” said Davis, R-O’Fallon. Under the state’s current policy, “we’re letting non-medical professionals talk about medical events.”
    But other lawmakers raised concerns, including where the proposal would leave teens who lack access to or money for a doctor.
    “We’re making information about pregnancy and contraception available only for those who can afford it,” said Rep. Beth Low, D-Kansas City.
    The bill also would prohibit abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from giving sexual education materials to public schools and would require school districts to share instructors’ names and affiliations before they teach sex education classes.
    Davis said she was trying to prevent those with a conflict of interest from teaching the material.
    Both concepts were included in sweeping anti-abortion legislation considered last year that fell apart in the session’s final days.

    Sex education bill is HB1075.
    On the Net:

  11. The letters I read on this site were thought-provoking. I live here, and am not too proud of that fact right now. I believe that hitting this state with a boycott to hurt us financially might get someones attention, but the point that it would hurt a lot of working people is a good one.If there is such a boycott, I believe a lot of S.D. people would also participate. There are many good places to shop in neighboring states.

  12. I’m a student doing a project on abortions. I would like to know if abortion has been banned in South Dakota.

  13. Nisha,

    To the best of my understanding, the law was passed, but it appears there is an initiative on the upcoming ballot to repeal the law. Here is a recent newspaper article that should give you some more info.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0610210263oct21,1,2445472.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

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