Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Endangering South Dakota's Youth

Dear friends,

I am extremely disappointed by Governor Rounds' decision to force the removal important information regarding the health and safety of our community's young people from the Rapid City Public Library's website.

The worst part of this wrongheaded decision is not that the Governor threatened to overrule the library board after they had twice voted (unanimously) to keep the Planned Parenthood link available, nor is it that the Governor has set a shameful precedent of censoring a public library.

No, Governor Rounds has not just ruffled the feathers of a public board and offended civil liberties advocates; he’s made a decision that is very dangerous to our city’s youth. Removing a link to a website that provides information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases will not magically stop teenagers from being sexually active, as Rounds seems to imagine. However, it will make it more difficult for teenagers to have safe, healthy relationships.

By forcing the removal of this important information, Governor Rounds has recklessly exposed our community’s youth to the threats of sexually-transmitted disease and unplanned pregnancy. Governor Rounds has made no secret of his anti-abortion views. However, does the Governor seriously believe that limiting access to information about safe sex and birth control will reduce the amount of abortions that occur in our state? Regardless of political affiliation, I believe that most rational observers would agree that teenagers without access to proper contraceptive information are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies, and are therefore more likely to have abortions. No one benefits from this foolish decision.

It’s depressing that Governor Rounds values political ideology more than he values the safety of our young people.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one support Governor Rounds on his decision. A goverment web site should not be used to advocate the taking of a unborns life. Any teenager knows that they can go to a public health office and get the same information. The removal of the link with not stop the choices they make.

July 18, 2004 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Peter Curtis said...

First, thanks for commenting; you're the first! It's nice to know that someone actually reads my blathering.

That said, I think there's an important distinction that needs to be made. If the library website was actually telling teenagers that they ought to have an abortion if they get pregnant, I think that would indeed be inappropriate. Even the staunchest pro-choice advocates believe that abortion is an option that should be considered by a woman and her doctor, not something to be thrust upon people by the government.

However, the Planned Parenthood link was just one site among several which offered information on reproductive choices; several of the links were pro-life Christian organizations. It's unfair, undemocratic, and ultimately harmful for the Governor to demand that a library only make available information that supports his personal beliefs.

July 18, 2004 at 3:07 PM  
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March 19, 2007 at 3:30 PM  

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