Not content to regulate their uteri, the government of South Dakota wants to get in women’s heads as well. The South Dakota House passed a bill on Wednesday banning “sex-selective” abortions. The law, now before the state Senate, requires physicians to ask patients whether their reasons for abortion relate to the fetus’ sex. Affirmative answers will require doctors to turn the patient away or risk prison and fines.
The reasoning behind the bill appears to be that there are too many Asian Americans in South Dakota. “Many of you know I spent 18 years in Asia,” said Republican State Representative and bill supporter Stace Nelson. “And sadly, I can tell you that the rest of the world does not value the lives of women as much as I value the lives of my daughters.” U.S. Census data estimates that in 2012, 1.1 percent of South Dakotans were of Asian descent.
It’s interesting that South Dakota legislators are so worried about female fetuses considering the very real threats facing the state’s born women. In recent years, the state has seen a massive increase in sexual assaults against women. Rapes and assaults are out of control, with the rape rates of over one hundred rapes per 100,000 residents in Williston, nearly four times the national average. From Examiner.com:
A woman in Williston, South Dakota is four times more likely to report being forcibly raped than a woman living in Los Angeles and over seven times more likely than a woman residing in New York City. Williston’s per capita rape rate is higher than that of all but one of the 214 U.S. cities with a population of over 100,000 residents, including Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans, cities usually regarded as among the nation’s most dangerous places.
Domestic violence is also up. “Our domestic violence calls have definitely increased; alcohol-related calls have drastically increased as well,” Police Chief Jesse Wellentold NPR.
South Dakota is already one of the hardest places in the country to get an abortion. Despite this, in the past year, the legislature has submitted eight different pieces of legislation restricting a woman’s access to reproductive health services.
Exactly one bill deals with rape, and none deal with domestic violence. It ensures that a woman who gets pregnant through rape or incest (but not through sex) gets more TANF aid if she’s already on public assistance.
It’ll be a wonderful day when South Dakota’s GOP legislators value the lives of their daughters once they’ve exited the womb as much as they do when they’re still in it.