Bring back bad legislators, bring back bad ideas….
Jon Hansen left the Legislature in 2013 to go to law school. Since he’s come back to Pierre, he’s validated Republican mistrust of higher education by advancing more bad legislation. Rep. Hansen was the co-author of the poorly defended and judicially rejected 2019 HB 1094. Now he’s following in the odious Roger Hunt’s footsteps by reviving his misogynist (and possibly stealthily anti-gay) idea of restricting people from making money arranging surrogate pregnancies.
Rep. Hansen has proposed House Bill 1096 is not an outright ban on women offer wombs for rent. It just bans anyone else from helping make such a commercial arrangement:
Any broker who knowingly engages in, advertise services for, offers payment of money or other consideration for, profits from, solicits a woman for, or otherwise assists or participates in commercial surrogacy is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The provisions of this section do not apply to the mother; a health care provider, as defined in § 34-12D-1, that provides health care to a mother or child after conception; or to any person who pays the health care expenses of a mother or child [2020 HB 1096, Section 2, as introduced 2020.01.26].
The Mitchell Daily Republic repeats unchecked Hansen’s assertion that he’s just trying to “prohibit the commercialization of children.” What he’s really expressing, just as during his previous service in the Capitol, is his paternalistic disdain for women, thinking they need his protection from the free market and their own silly impulses. KELO-TV’s Michael Geheran gets a more accurate description of HB 1096 from the ACLU:
The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has come out against the bill. In a statement to KELOLAND News, policy director Libby Skarin said the more lawmakers legislate solutions in search of problems, the more people suffer.
“The government has no business intruding into the very private and sometimes heart-breaking decisions that families must make when they are choosing to start a family,” Skarin said. “It’s time for our legislators to focus on issues that really matter to the people of South Dakota and stop trying to give the government control over the personal liberty of South Dakotans” [Michael Geheren, “Why Most Surrogacy Could Become a Crime in South Dakota,” KELO-TV, 2020.01.27].
Section 3 of HB 1096 would void any commercial surrogacy contract, whether signed in this state or any other. That’s alarming, because that contract would include the agreement that the woman who carries the child would surrender custody of the child to the contracting parents. There’s the quiet attack on same-sex couples: if they fulfill their dreams of becoming parents through surrogacy, and if they pay fees to the medical and legal experts who help them arrange a fair and healthy agreement among all concerned parties, Hansen and the state could use HB 1096 to deny them their parental rights.
So, to recap, we have government-hating, free-market-loving, parent-sanctifying Republicans (and my own Republican Senator Al Novstrup is Hansen’s HB 1096 Senate prime sponsor) pushing to expand regulations, outlaw commercial activity, and strip parental rights.
This Republican hypocrisy comes to House Judiciary, which Hansen chairs, this morning at 10 a.m.