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HB 1096: Hansen Interferes with Parental Rights and Free Market by Banning Commercial Surrogacy

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.


  1. jerry 2020-01-29 08:25

    So after this putz goes to law school (school being emphasized) he rails against it. Typical, I got mine to hell with yours. Ignorant folk like Hansen are what makes South Dakota petty and small.

  2. Debbo 2020-01-29 16:21

    Why does the SDGOP hate non white males so much?

    This is a perfect summation:
    “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.

  3. Ryan 2020-01-29 19:21

    I’m all for people helping people have kids if they want to, but this post makes me wonder where the lines are for autonomy in parenting decisions and the free market applied as to biological subjects.

    If a woman is pregnant and ready to deliver, should she be allowed to post on Facebook that the baby is for sale and the buyer can pick it up from the hospital in a few days if they bring $100k in cash in a backpack?

    If we all should have unrestricted control over our bodies, should I be able to list my left kidney for sale on craigslist?

    If parental autonomy and the free market are the concerns here, both of my hypothetical situations should be allowed. Honestly, I don’t have a huge argument against either one because I am a fan of adults doing whatever they want, but it seems like a tricky line to draw.

  4. Debbo 2020-01-29 20:26

    Today 538 published the first of a series on women in politics in the 21st century. Of course the GOP doesn’t want that scenario to exist, but it does, in spite of all their efforts to regulate and limit women. It’s very interesting.

  5. Dana P 2020-01-29 22:24

    our legislators…..continuing to provide solutions looking for a problem. Sigh

    I’ll continue driving on our crappy roads, pay regressive taxes, wonder for another year about healthcare affordability and accessibility, exploratory drilling in the hills — because this, daylight savings time, youth transgender issues, and other stupidity are major priorities in this state.


  6. Debbo 2020-01-29 23:57

    Dana, don’t forget straws and those critical red solo cups are being protected. Priorities.

    SDGOP = Pollution over People

  7. Debbo 2020-01-30 14:32

    When I searched DFP for “Equal Rights Amendment” this is what I got, so I’ll put this here:

    “Even before Richmond, the capitol of the Commonwealth (aka the capitol of the Confederacy), voted to ratify the federal ERA, men in Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota lined up to litigate the issue in federal court, in a desperate attempt to move the goalposts.

    “However, now that 38 states have ratified the ERA, it is the duty of the U.S. Archivist to declare it ratified and add it to the U.S. Constitution.

    “Never mind the “extra-textual” arbitrary deadline that was imposed on the ERA, twice, since there is nothing in the Constitution that allows for deadlines. Besides, the definition of inequality is: ‘Men get no deadline. Women get a deadline.’

    “Never mind that five states have attempted to rescind their ratification after the fact, since there is nothing in the Constitution that allows states to un-ratify. Besides, there is precedent on this issue; since after the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 two states have attempted to rescind but the Supreme Court turned them back stating that a state cannot rescind.”

    Betty Folliard, of St. Paul, is founder of ERA Minnesota.

    Commentary in 1/30/2020 Strib

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