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Janna Farley,

February 22, 2021

Discriminatory legislation similar to a bill that was tabled last year found new life in the House State Affairs committee today as lawmakers voted to advance House Bill 1247.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1247, legislation that would allow medical practitioners, health care institutions and health care payers to refuse to provide services based on moral or religious objections.

“Freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, but that freedom does not give any of us the right to harm others,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “It doesn’t mean a right to refuse to transport a patient in need because she had an abortion. It doesn’t mean refusing care to a patient because she is transgender. It doesn’t mean overriding patient directives about end-of-life care. or refusing to fill prescriptions for HIV medication or birth control. Medical standards, not religious or moral beliefs, should guide medical and health care services.”

Similar legislation – Senate Bill 109 – was introduced in 2020 but tabled in committee. 

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.