Birth control is basic health care that benefits people and families across South Dakota.
That’s why the ALCU of South Dakota supports House Concurrent Resolution 6005, legislation that would recognize the right to contraception and support access to contraception for all adults. The House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on this bill Wednesday morning.
“Every sexually active individual should have safe, affordable access to a full range of contraceptive options,” said Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Meaningful access to contraception is integral to our vision of a world in which people are free to express their sexuality, form intimate relationships, lead healthy sexual lives and decide whether and when to have children. It’s critical to an individual’s autonomy, equality, and ability to participate in society.”
The health benefits of birth control, however, extend far beyond simply preventing pregnancy. A person may take birth control to treat medical problems ranging from acne to endometriosis to ovarian cysts. Birth control can even help make menstrual periods more regular or reduce painful period symptoms. Birth control has had such a dramatic impact on individuals and families in America that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of the top 10 public health achievements of the past century.
In South Dakota, however, legislators have done little to protect birth control rights. There are no laws, for example, to stop pharmacists from refusing to administer birth control prescriptions and emergency contraceptives if they choose not to, based on personal beliefs.
While no new legislation on contraceptives is expected this session, the fight continues to protect birth control rights.
“Anti-abortion extremists are already seeking to control the bodies of pregnant people – and they won’t stop there,” Chapman says. “They are coming for our right to access birth control next. South Dakotans need to know that our legislative body supports our ability to determine our individual and collective futures. We want to get our legislators on the record supporting birth control and contraception.”
About the ACLU of South Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.