<\body> Stories in America: South Dakota House Passes Abortion Ban

Friday, February 10, 2006

South Dakota House Passes Abortion Ban

The South Dakota House has passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state. The vote was 47 to 22. The bill, which makes it a felony to perform an abortion, now moves to the Senate.

The South Dakota House also approved a bill that would make it illegal to hand out birth control pills, condoms and other contraceptives on school property.

And a Senate committee rejected a measure to require schools to provie sex education covering both abstinence and contraception. The disconnect between politicians and reality is frightening:
Dena Espenscheid of Sioux Falls, representing the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, said sex education programs that claim to be comprehensive spend little time dealing with how students can be responsible and abstain from sex. "It's teaching them basically how to have sex," Espenscheid said.

But two Pierre high school students said the course taught in their school provides information that helps teenagers avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

"If it wasn't for this class, I can guarantee you there would be many more teenage moms in our communities," said Amy Breitag, a 17-year-old senior at Riggs High School.

Breitag said only 10 percent to 20 percent of the girls in the high school haven't had sex. "Don't deny us the information we need to be healthy," she said.

Jenny Badger, another Pierre high school senior, said most students have a difficult time talking about sex with their parents. She said balanced sex education does not tell teenagers to be sexually active, but they need accurate information about sexual issues.
The pro-choice community must bring sex ed and birth control into the conversation. Most 'pro-lifers' are either opposed to or refuse to take a stand on birth control. They should be forced to defend those unrealistic positions.

A few facts about abortion in South Dakota, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

*In South Dakota, 13,540 of the 158,436 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2000. 76% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 8% in induced abortions.

*In 2000, 870 women obtained abortions in South Dakota, producing a rate of 5.5 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states, and some South Dakota residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate declined 15% since 1996, when it was 6.5 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44. Abortions in South Dakota represent 0.1 of all abortions in the United States.

*In 2000, there were 2 abortion providers in South Dakota. This represents a 100% increase from 1996, when there was 1 abortion provider.

*In 2000, 98% of South Dakota counties had no abortion provider. 78% of South Dakota women lived in these counties. In the Midwest census region, where South Dakota is located, 28% of women having abortions traveled at least 50 miles, and 10% traveled more than 100 miles.


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