A bill seeking the reports on destroyed embryos was seen as an attack on the people who use in vitro fertilization Monday morning when the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on HB1248. The committee defeated the legislation.

HB1248 calls for facilities to report to the state the destruction or transport out of state of human embryos.

“A human embryo is a human being,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids. “If a human life is intentionally destroyed in this state, this state has an interest in knowing about it.”

Like the information that’s reported on abortions, individual identifications would be protected from reporting. “No identifying information is ever made public,” Hansen said.

Dale Bartcher, representing South Dakota Right to Life, said, “This bill fills a gaping hole in the reporting requirement.”

Mitch Rave, representing Sanford Health, which operates the only reproductive clinic in the state, said an additional reporting requirement seems odd “in a state that espouses limited government.”

Rave characterized HB1248 as “the first assault on IVF. What is the state going to start tracking next?”

Amber Rickansrud of Sioux Falls said the proponents of the bill have offered no estimates on how much the reporting will cost or who will pay that cost. She noted that the IVF procedures can cost $20,000 per cycle.

Hansen insisted the cost would be minimal.

“I don’t think a patient would even know this bill exists,” Hansen said.

Sen. Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, made a motion to send HB1248 to the 41st day, a tactic that kills legislation.

Duvall said the bill’s sponsor did not make the case that the information was needed. She also said she feared passage of the legislation would cause people using in vitro fertilization to be labeled as abortionists.

Sen. Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford, said he was torn about the legislation but would resist the motion to kill the bill.

“I think sometimes we’re afraid of information,” Steinhauer said.

The motion to send the bill to the 41st day was endorsed by the committee on a 5-1 vote, killing the legislation. The bill had previously been endorsed by the House on a vote of 47-21.

by Dana Hess

Originally published in the Rapid City Journal 3/1/21

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