A South Dakota bill that would have given women easier access to contraception and taken substantial steps to decrease the unintended pregnancy and abortion rate was defeated in the state senate — by “pro-life” legislators.
The Birth Control Protection Act said South Dakotans have the freedom to obtain and use safe and effective methods of contraception without government interference.
“It is the public policy of this state that the interest in freedom from unreasonable government intrusions into the private lives of citizens, and specifically the right of consenting individuals to obtain and use safe and effective methods of contraception without interference by governmental entities … ” the bill stated.
Birth control is not abortion. It does not cause or promote abortion. Birth control is the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate. And yet those who claim to oppose abortion the most are the same people who are taking the strongest steps to increase the abortion rate.
It’s things like this that lead pro-choicers like me to conclude that the “pro-life” establishment isn’t interested in life at all; they’re more interested in promoting a particular social agenda that is anti-sex and anti-woman. It’s about relegating women to the role of baby-maker, and taking away our ability to plan our pregnancies and have babies when we’re ready. It’s not about saving lives, fetal or otherwise — it’s about social control. And their opposition to birth control is Evidence #1 of their greater ideology.
Kimberly Martinez, executive director of the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, which provides services to women and men involved in unplanned pregnancies, opposed the bill and applauded the Senate for its majority decision Wednesday.
“We want to thank the senators who voted no on SB 164, in spite of being bullied to disregard South Dakota values and accept an extreme worldview,” Martinez said.
Martinez said opponents to the bill were concerned that it didn’t specify the age of “consenting individuals” and said the language would have opened the door for minors to access birth control without parental or physician consent.
“The key to reducing the number of unwed pregnancies and abortions in South Dakota is sexual integrity relationship education, which includes healthy decision making, healthy relationships and refusal skills,” Martinez said.
In other words, “just say no” if you don’t want to get pregnant — for your entire life.
It’s interesting that Martinez talks about the pro-birth-control advocates of having an “extreme” worldview when the fact is that 95 percent of people will have sex before marriage, and 98 percent of women who have ever had sex use at least one type of contraceptive method. Most women will spend decades trying to prevent pregnancy, and only 5-7 years actually trying to get pregnant. What’s extreme is telling those women — virtually all women — that they should not be permitted sex for pleasure.
But that’s the “pro-life” agenda. At its heart, it’s incredibly extreme, and thoroughly out of line with the lives of most Americans — even Americans who self-identify as pro-life. And as pro-choice activists, we have to keep emphasizing the myriad ways that the mainstream “pro-life” groups compromise women’s health, contribute to a high abortion rate, and are entirely out of step with modern values.
- Leslee Unruh Eats Babies by Jill May 28, 2007
- Cute Genitalia Cartoons Explain Pregnancy by Jill May 22, 2006
- Pro-Lifers: Increasing the Abortion Rate in Your State by Jill February 2, 2008
- “The pro-aborts are right” by Jill May 20, 2006
- Shocker: Women in a “Pro-Life” Nation Want Birth Control by Jill February 12, 2008