The anti-abortionist fervor to fight their fetus crusade on every battlefield leads to really bad legislation. Consider Senate Bill 101, an effort by Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) to wedge more of the culture war into our schools:
No school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in a public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on personhood before birth or other related topics.
Senator Monroe apparently was so busy thinking, "Love babies! Take over the schools!" that he didn't pay attention to the meaning of the words in his bill. An objective and literal reading of SB 101 opens this possibility:
A high school French teacher walks into his classroom. He begins a lesson on French food. Oo la la, les crêpes, le croque-monsiuer.... Suddenly he stops, jumps on a desk, and shouts, "Students! Fetuses are not people! They are not citizens under the Constitution! The only person in a position to decide whether a pregnancy should continue and whether a fetus should be allowed to be born and become a person is the woman who is pregnant!" All of those statements constitute instruction on personhood before birth.
But the French teacher reads SB 101 closely. (French teachers are smart like that.) He recognizes that sex is a precondition to fetuses and birth. Sex is thus a related topic under SB 101. The French teacher thus begins to converse with the students about their sexual activity and discusses the pros and cons of various forms of birth control so they can avoid having to confront the quandary of embryonic personhood.
The principal walks in and is aghast. "You can't talk about fetuses!" the principal shouts. "You're supposed to be teaching French! Stop that!"
"Mais non!" tuts the French teacher, handing the principal his copy of SB 101. "You cannot prohibit a teacher, any teacher, from teaching such things."
The principal remembers SB 101, sighs, and hurries away to a meeting on Common Core data-mining and mind control, leaving the French teacher to continue the conversation with a group of surprised but unusually attentive students.
Senator Monroe, thank you. Please do pass this bill, exactly as written. I can't wait to get back to teaching in South Dakota.