Thursday, February 7, 2008

SD Legislature Strikes Down Birth Control Protection Act

South Dakota Legislature Strikes Down Birth Control Protection Act- Misses Opportunity to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy and Reduce Need for Abortion

Today, the South Dakota senate struck down legislation that would have ensured South Dakota women had access to birth control needed to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion.

The Birth Control Protection Act was struck down in the legislature by a 12 to 22 margin. "The Birth Control Protection Act would have ensured that women and couples had greater opportunities to prevent unintended pregnancy by making birth control accessible and limiting government intrusion into personal, private health matters," said Kate Looby, Planned Parenthood South Dakota Director. "This is a missed opportunity to take a positive, concrete step toward reducing unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion in South Dakota," Looby said.

"Unfortunately, the legislature is more comfortable with criminalizing abortion and passing meaningless sonogram bills than with passing proactive legislation that would prevent the need for abortion," said Looby. The bill garnered bi-partisan support from both chambers. Prime sponsors of the measure were Senator Ed Olson (R-Mitchell) and Representative Clayton Halverson (D-Veblen).

Many of the proponents of the 2006 abortion ban opposed the legislation that would have made birth control more accessible to South Dakotans. Those opposed include Senators Dennis Schmidt and Jay Duenwald, both prime sponsors of the two sonogram bills still working their way through the legislature.

"The people of South Dakota have told us that they want practical solutions, that the government shouldn't intrude in personal, private decisions. Only by focusing on preventing unintended pregnancy will the need for abortion in South Dakota be reduced," Looby said.

Polling released in November shows that 75% of South Dakotans surveyed support an approach that gets to the root of the problem - working together to take practical and meaningful steps to prevent unintended pregnancy thereby reducing the need for abortion.

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