The South Dakota Legislature has before it a bill declaring that personhood begins at conception. House Bill 1212 adds fifteen words to our child abuse statutes:

For purposes of this section, a child conceived, but not born, is deemed a minor.

Conceived, but not born—you know what that means: abortion becomes child abuse. Taking the morning-after pill becomes child abuse. Mess with a fertilized egg (never mind implantation, which science says is when pregnancy starts; we're talking fundies like Hobby Lobby who say the magic moment is when sperm meets egg, if not earlier), and HB 1212 would bust you for a Class 3 felony.

HB 1212 is a total abortion ban in disguise. HB 1212 may also ban in vitro fertilization. Consider standard medical practice in making test-tube babies:

Any embryos that you do not use in your first IVF attempt can be frozen for later use. This will save you money if you undergo IVF a second or third time. If you do not want your leftover embryos, you may donate them to another infertile couple, or you and your partner can ask the clinic to destroy the embryos. Both you and your partner must agree before the clinic will destroy or donate your embryos ["Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization," WebMD, reviewed by Nivin Todd, M.D., 2015.01.18, downloaded 2015.02.13].

Freezing minor children sounds pretty cruel to me. Destroying minor children is most certainly abuse. Cuff those doctors and those heartless infertile parents!

Classifying embryos as minors opens the door to dragging any women who miscarries before a child abuse tribunal. South Dakota law requires doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals, among others, to report suspected child abuse. If any of those professionals encounter a woman who has had a miscarriage, and if they think the woman may have done something that may have caused that miscarriage, HB 1212 would interact with existing statute to compel those health care providers to break their professional confidence and report that woman as a potential child abuser.

House Judiciary was supposed to take up HB 1212 this week, but chairman Rep. G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) deferred it to next week, Wednesday, February 18, 10:00 a.m. CST, in Room 413, when it will jostle for attention on the agenda with the Benda-Bollen conflict-of-interest bills, a gun bill, a bill curtailing my ability to make a living doing my Mike Rounds impression, and Rep. Steve Hickey's bill dealing with cases of real child abuse. Let's help focus House Judiciary's attention: contact Chairman Mickelson, Vice-Chairman Mike Stevens (R-18/Yankton), and the other members of this committee over this long weekend (the Legislature doesn't reconvene until Tuesday) to tell them to kill this bill fast and stop trying to sneak abortion bans into South Dakota law.