The legislature there is voting on one of the most wide-reaching state abortion bans since Roe. And if the ban goes through, it’s sure to reach the Supreme Court — offering up the chance to overturn Roe and take us decades back in terms of the privacy rights we all hold dear.
If the bill passes a narrowly divided Senate in a vote expected on Wednesday, and is signed by Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican who opposes abortion, advocates of abortion rights have pledged to challenge it in court immediately — and that is precisely what the bill’s supporters have in mind.
These guys are practically salivating over this one. The idea of controlling uteruses state-wide, and foring all pregnant women to give birth, is just too appealling.
Optimistic about the recent changes on the United States Supreme Court, some abortion opponents say they have new hope that a court fight over a ban here could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal around the country.
“I’m convinced that the timing is right for this,” said State Representative Roger Hunt, a Republican who has sponsored the bill, noting the appointments of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the court.
“The strong possibility of a third appointee sometime soon makes this all very real and very viable,” Mr. Hunt added, a reference to conjecture that Justice John Paul Stevens, 85, might soon retire. “I think it will all culminate at the right time.”
Pray to your God/Goddess, or just cross your fingers, that Stevens can stick it out for another couple years.
And this law really does call bullshit on any “pro-lifer” who claims that the anti-choice movement cares at all about women:
The proposed legislation, which states that “life begins at the time of conception,” would prohibit abortion except in cases where the pregnant woman’s life was at risk. Felony charges could be placed against doctors, but not against those seeking abortions, the measure says.
It offers no exception for the pregnant woman’s health — if giving birth is going to cause massive kidney damage which will likely kill her after childbirth, no exception. If giving birth is going to force doctors to perform a hysterectomy, no exception. If the fetus has such a severe birth defect that it will die before, during or immediately after birth, no exception — the woman will be forced by the state to bring a doomed pregnancy to term, and to go through the dangers of childbirth for a fetus that will never live when she could have had a safer procedure.
It criminalizes doctors. And it creates a medical environment where there just won’t be any doctors in South Dakota who know how to perform these procedures when they are absolutely necessary — when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life; when women show up at the ER with partially-performed and botched illegal procedures; when the fetus dies in utero, and is literally rotting inside the woman’s body, posing a serious risk of septic shock and poisoning her. Even most anti-choicers would allow for removal of a dead fetus — but who knows how to do that? Abortion providers. Of which there will be none.
This ban additionally states that “life begins at the time of conception,” which again demonstrates that politicians probably shouldn’t be making laws about medicine when they have no idea what they’re talking about (hello there, “partial-birth” abortion!). “Conception” isn’t a medical term. Fertilization is, but pregnancy doesn’t start at fertilization — it starts at implantation. And if “life” in South Dakota starts at “conception,” they’re going to have a skyrocketing miscarriage rate, as about half of fertilized eggs naturally don’t implant in the uterus and get flushed out. Perhaps the next initiative will require women to save their used tampons and pads, or at least give them a proper burial, considering the possibility that there’s a baby on them.
I’m being snarky now, but I think it points to the ridiculousness of this law. Legislating the idea that “life begins at conception” brings with it a whole slew of problems, and is deeply medically and scientifically unsound. This entire bill should have us worried; let’s hope it doesn’t pass.
- Bill Seeks To Outlaw Abortion in Indiana; Take the Issue To Supreme Court by Lauren January 5, 2006
- “Progressive” McCain by Jill November 20, 2006
- Greatest Hits: Why I’m Pro-Choice by Jill August 7, 2007
- Roe at 40 by Jill January 22, 2013
- Who Needs Roe? by Jill October 2, 2005