Republicans don’t want to count all the people in America, but South Dakota Republicans want to make sure every embryo counts.
House Bill 1248, sponsored by the baby-lovin’est Republicans in our Legislature, originally proposed a yearly census of test-tube embryos created or handled by any medical facility in South Dakota. HB 1248 called for counts of embryos transferred to wombs, embryos kept on ice (with their location), and embryos disposed of (with reasons for their disposal).
Evidently a full embryo census was a bit much for the hospitals. But the committee accepted prime sponsor Rep. Jon Hansen’s (R-25/Dell Rapids) amendment to require every facility that handles test-tube embryos to report each year the number of embryos it disposes of or destroys, the number of embryos it ships out of state for disposal, and the total number of embryos shipped out of state for any reason. Rep. Hansen told House Health and Human Services Tuesday that we need to count destroyed embryos, because “if a human life is intentionally destroyed in our state, then the state at the very least has an interest in knowing about it. I think we can all agree on that.”
The embryo count isn’t really about bookkeeping: it’s about giving another foothold in law for Hansen’s absolutist crusade to declare that life begins at conception and that abortion should thus be completely illegal. Of course, the logical conclusion of Hansen’s enshrinement of test-tube entities as lives with rights should require fertility clinics to maintain all embryos in a viable state and ultimately implant them into women (willing, we assume, but Hansen and his Gileadean absolutists might argue that saving those human lives warrants drafting handmaids) for delivery… or just stop practicing in vitro fertilization, since creating all those extra embryos, only to have to destroy them, is obviously, in the thinking of Jon Hansen and his party, murder.
The only woman who spoke in favor of HB 1248 was Governor Kristi Noem’s attack dog, Maggie Seidel. The other proponents were all men. Besides Sanford Health representative Mitchell Rave, the individuals who spoke against HB 1248 were all women.
HB 1248 and its frightful premise passed Health and Human Services Tuesday on an 8–5 vote. The yeas came from seven Republican men and one Republican woman. The nays came from two Democrats and three Republicans, all women.