South Dakota Library Censorship Criticized

After complaints by a Catholic bishop, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has ordered the removal from a state website of a link to a website providing information on abortion for teenagers.

In late July, the Argus Leader, a Sioux Falls daily, reported that Rounds urged the state Library Board to remove from its website a link to Planned Parenthood’s teenwire.com website, which provides sexual health information. The newspaper reported that Rounds ordered the alteration after Sioux Falls Catholic Bishop Robert Carlson wrote to the governor in May asking him to yank the link from the state library’s web page.

“Separation of church and state does not require separation between belief and public action,” the bishop told the Argus Leader. “If my values conflict with things that are out there, then I can, in a public sector, present my challenge to those things.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the South Dakota governor should stick to his duty to uphold constitutional principles for all the state’s citizens.

“Governments are not supposed to be making their decisions on religious ideas,” Lynn told the newspaper. “They are supposed to be making those decisions based on the Consti­tution and not attempting to impose their religious viewpoint on everyone in the state.”