House Bill 1180 is an anti-child, anti-woman, anti-knowledge bill masquerading under the guise of fairness. This bill, now just one vote away from heading to Governor Dennis Daugaard's desk, makes South Dakota's bad abortion restrictions even worse by prohibiting organizations that offer either abortion services or adoption services from offering the state's mandatory browbeating of women seeking abortions.
HB 1180's lead Senate sponsor, Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), says he's just trying to maintain a level playing field:
The roles of the pregnancy care centers are to counsel, educate and assist, according to Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor.
“One of my definitions of neutral is you’re not making money at it,” he said.
Some people in the adoption business sought to be centers, too.
“That is a conflict of interest,” Novstrup said.
Planned Parenthood makes money from abortions and adoption agencies make money from adoptions, he said [Bob Mercer, "New Rule Would Restrict Offerings of Adoption Services," Aberdeen American News, 2014.02.27].
Neutrality is the last thing Senator Novstrup and his abortion-obsessed colleagues want. They are trying to corral every woman in the state into the lying propaganda centers their 2011 abortion law authorizes to peddle their very specific, very ideological anti-abortion message.
If Senator Novstrup and the other sponsors of HB 1180 were really interested in helping women, they wouldn't oppress them with a 72-hour waiting period or patronize them with a requirement that they undergo counseling before would making a decision that Novstrup et al. think women are not capable of making on their own. Even we accepted the notion that all women considering an abortion are in such dire need of counseling that the state must force them into such counseling, a wise and fair Legislature would open the doors for experts of all sorts to help women obtain this required counseling.
Why not let the health care providers who know the most about abortion, the ones who actually perform abortions, explain to women what abortion involves?
Why not let dedicated professionals who know the most about adoption, the ones who make adoptions happen, share their knowledge and experience with women so they can get the best advice as to whether adoption is the right course for them to pursue?
Senator Novstrup professes fairness, but fairness would allow women to choose to get their information from the best, most experienced, most knowledgeable experts in the field of reproduction-related services. Senator Novstrup would rather use HB 1180 to block women from such expertise and force them into the clutches of a narrow group of know-nothing ideologues who will use the state's mandate to guilt and shame and lie all the women they can into conforming to their political goal of banning all abortions.
House Bill 1180 makes a bad law worse. If the Senate doesn't have the wisdom to vote it down, Governor Daugaard should recall his experience with the Children's Home Society, recall the good that adoption providers do for women and families and need, and veto this bill so women at least have a chance to get expert information from caring, experienced professionals who just want to help families do the right thing, not peddle a politico-religious agenda.