Rep. Lynne DiSanto (R-35/Rapid City) is already requiring legislators to talk about breasts; now she's going to have them saying "clitoris" on the House floor.

House Bill 1089 would make it a Class 4 felony to mutilate female genitalia. Some cultures think female genital mutilation is an acceptable practice. HB 1089 takes the anti-multicultural position that these cultures are wrong and would suppress this cultural practice in South Dakota.

Rep. DiSanto and I would have gotten along swimmingly back in my SDSU days when I was listening to Rush Limbaugh and waging war against my profs for teaching multiculturalism in my education classes. "If our calling as teachers is to respect and celebrate other cultures," I would ask my profs, "how do we deal with cultural practices that harm the health and dignity of our students?" Had I known about female genital mutilation at the time, I'd have held it up as Exhibit #1 of the limits of multiculturalism.

I've given up Rush, but I maintain my apparent agreement with Rep. DiSanto that some cultural practices deserve no tolerance, let alone celebration. The only reason I can think of to oppose HB 1089 (and I have to try to think of some reason, because hey, it's Lynne DiSanto!) is that it may be unnecessary. That same conservative me from 1992 who fought value relativism would also fight superfluous legislation. Might female genital mutilation already be covered by our statutes on assaults and personal injuries, or perhaps child abuse?

But that's an argument about the content of the law, not the cruel act House Bill 1089 opposes. Check with the lawyers and the LRC, but on face, HB 1089 looks like a good bill.