Personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties.
I don’t think I need to tell any of you this.
But it bears repeating. Reproductive freedom is a fundamental constitutional right grounded in the privacy protections of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. And laws that restrict our access to abortion are a violation of our civil rights and liberties.
But extremist politicians don’t seem to care about our constitutional rights.
From Texas and Arizona to right here in South Dakota, politicians are working extremely hard to prevent people from getting an abortion or to shame them out of having one. Whether it’s forced waiting periods, medically unnecessary and stigmatizing procedures, requiring coercive and inaccurate medical information to be presented to pregnant people seeking abortion care, legally empowering medical professionals to discriminate against pregnant people because of their identity or personal religious beliefs, or flat-out bans, these politicians are determined to block abortion access.
And in doing so, they’re robbing pregnant people of their basic human and civil rights.
We see legislative attacks like this, hell-bent on stripping us of our freedom of choice, all throughout session and targeting a variety of different marginalized communities. Like the attempts to restrict gender-affirming care that is medically necessary and life saving for transgender men and women and nonbinary people, abortion bans are legislative attempts to police and control people’s bodies, families, and future.
These laws interfere with a person’s bodily autonomy; they restrict a person’s right to decide whether and when to bear a child; they subject people who need abortions and their health care providers to discriminatory treatment and they use state power to force a body, family, and future on people who can get pregnant and those who love us.
All people should have the ability to make decisions about their lives and bodies, to access abortion care when they need it, in the way that works best for them, and with the guidance and support of providers they trust. And by all people, I mean everyone. People of all races, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions have abortions. Bans and restrictions disproportionately affect communities that have survived systemic oppression and people who hold multiple marginalized identities. We’ve seen it again and again — restrictions to abortion care disproportionately harm Black and Brown people, people struggling to make ends meet, those who are already parenting, folks in rural areas, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit folks, and young people.
Let’s be clear: Attacks on abortion care won’t stop South Dakotans from needing, and seeking, abortion care. They’ll just ensure that the most vulnerable South Dakotans have a much more difficult and costly experience accessing it. When someone decides to have an abortion, it should be safe, accessible, and free from punishment or judgment.
It’s beyond time for South Dakota to recognize that abortion care is essential health care. It is our right to shape our families, to access the health care we need, to decide when or whether we have children, and how we shape our lives.
In the face of unprecedented restrictions and a Supreme Court stacked against us, now is the time to show up and fight for our communities. And when it comes to abortion rights in South Dakota right now, every action matters. We must keep going and we must do so in solidarity with all communities who are continuously subject to legislative attempts to violate our constitutional rights.
The ACLU of South Dakota will never stop fighting for abortion rights. But we need your help to keep showing broad support for abortion access and demonstrate our fierce opposition to attempts to roll back our reproductive rights. Now more than ever, we have to fight for everyone’s reproductive freedom.
Connect with your legislators early and often. Call, write, or email. Let them know how you feel and that you will never stop fighting. Let them know that the law is clear: The Constitution guarantees people the freedom to make health care decisions about their own bodies.
Enough is enough. It is time to end South Dakota’s decades of attacks on reproductive freedom.