South Dakotans Not So Hot On Abortion Ban

Well, looky here. A statewide poll conducted by the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader and KELO-TV of Sioux Falls shows that more South Dakotans than not oppose the ban on abortion that was signed into law earlier this year (but has not taken effect pending the outcome of a referendum this November).

According to the statewide poll, conducted for the Argus Leader and KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, 47 percent of voters polled would vote to reject the ban, compared with 39 percent who would vote to keep it. Another 14 percent were undecided.

Support for the current form of the abortion ban came equally from men and women and matched the statewide 39 percent. The political breakdown showed only 23 percent of Democrats support the proposed law, while 51 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of independents back it.

Gov. Mike Rounds earlier this year signed the ban that the 2006 Legislature passed. It would outlaw all abortions except to save the life of a pregnant woman. Opponents circulated a petition and got enough signatures to prevent the law from taking effect until after a November vote.

However, more of the likely voters surveyed would support a ban if it included rape and incest exceptions:

The poll indicated the ban would have broader overall support if it included an exception for cases involving rape or incest. Those undecided or against the current form of the abortion ban were asked if they would favor the proposed law if it included those exceptions. Statewide, 59 percent said they would support that form of an abortion restriction.

Those voters could be the key to the ban’s fate, said Brad Coker, Mason-Dixon’s managing director.

“It looks like that there’s no exception made for rape and incest seems to be the factor that could sink this,” he said. “That’s the hook the opponents can really build their argument on. If you’re trying to defeat something that’s on the ballot, you have an easier campaign to run to be successful by raising little seeds of doubt.”

Oddly enough, I have a lot more respect for people like this guy who support a total ban (with an exception for the mother’s life) than for those who would ban all abortions except in the case of rape and incest:

Gordon Geick of Sioux Falls, who is voting for the ban, said he’s had his mind made up on the issue for some time.

“Primarily, I think it’s murder,” said Geick, 75. “To start with, I don’t think there’s anything in the U.S. Constitution that gives anybody the right to kill another human being.”

Now, I happen not to agree with Mr. Geick, but at least he’s got some convictions. If you believe that abortion is murder, then you support a ban for any reason other than the mother’s life (because then it would be murder to let her — and most like the fetus as well — die). Why? Because you believe it’s murder, and murder’s wrong no matter how the fetus got there.

However, if you think that abortion allows women to escape the punishment of their loose ways, you support a ban for any reason other than rape and incest. Because if a woman was raped or a victim of incest, you can tell yourself that she didn’t have teh sex for her own sake. That she’s not someone who has to bear the consequences of her actions.

H/T Atrios.


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21 Responses to South Dakotans Not So Hot On Abortion Ban

  1. Sara says:

    I don’t have a lot of respect for people who value consistency over the health and wellbeing of fellow human beings, myself.

  2. Blue says:

    What you see as consistency, I see as a more absolute misogyny.

  3. zuzu says:

    Let me explain a bit: I think that those people who see abortion as murder, and are willing to seem misogynist and inflexible and inhumane and what have you because, for them, abortion is murder and murder is always wrong at least have some principles.

    For those who say that abortion is murder and murder is always wrong, except in those cases where the circumstances of impregnation at least seem like the woman was not being a wanton slut, I say that they’re using the “abortion is murder” argument to cover up their real agenda, which is to punish women for having consensual sex.

    Because, really, if it’s murder, it’s murder, and the only justification for it is self-defense (i.e., the mother will die). All the wishy-washiness of it being okay in the first trimester, but not in the second, and only if your daddy got you pregnant, and it’s only acceptable if you haven’t had any before and you’re really really sad about it just shows that the rationale that it’s murder is bullshit. Therefore, all you’re left with is misogyny and slut-shaming.

    That’s not to say that I agree with people who think it’s always wrong, or that it’s murder, but at least I can see their ethical framework.

  4. Kiri says:

    I disagree zuzu, I think it is possible to stand somewhere in that middle-ground and not be a misogynist or ‘slut-shamer’. For whatever reason, I find it difficult to draw a line in the sand and call a fetus or embryo or whatever on one side ‘human’ and on the other not. So in general I would have an aversion to abortion just becasue of that, but I don’t feel the need to impress these values on others, so I would probably vote against this had I to choose.
    The main reason why I would oppose it would simply be because some people aren’t as lucky as me, and they would feel that in their circumstances they must abort, and I don’t feel that I have sovereign access to the moral high ground so I could deny them that. The cases of incest or rape are here particularly relevant.
    So whilst I would oppose a ban, I can understand those who would, without these exemption clauses.

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  6. Blue says:

    I don’t live in South Dakota, but I do live in rural Minnesota in a county and district that almost always elect Republicans at all levels of government. From the conservative people around me (who I believe are culturally quite similar to SD) I find the ones who have what appears to be an ethical framework and “at least have some principles” are often blindly following the edicts of their churches. These are the people who don’t believe in evolution because their church says they shouldn’t.

    The people whose principles appear less consistent, I find, have at least puzzled some things out a bit for themselves. They’re a product of this conservative environment in that they cannot imagine not giving a pregnant relative any help they needed raising a child, but have decided that a woman who has been the victim of violence may be best helped by ridding herself of the fetus. In other words, they have a sort of ethic of care instead of an ethic of autonomy. Deeply flawed, I grant you, but not as inconsistent, imo, as you think.

  7. Blue says:

    I should have clarified above that the “ones who have what appears to be an ethical framework” refers to the people Zuzu is saying are consistently against murder.I like to think there are some liberals around here with different ethical frameworks that are also consistent.

  8. zuzu says:

    I should also add that I look askance at anyone who sticks to their guns on “abortion is murder” but is pro-death-penalty. Having principles means thinking them out in all applications.

  9. Shankar Gupta says:

    I should also add that I look askance at anyone who sticks to their guns on “abortion is murder” but is pro-death-penalty.

    This is really a tired refrain. People who hold these two positions simultaneously do not accept that the death penalty is murder. It is not especially hard to grasp.

  10. zuzu says:

    If life is sacred, it’s sacred.

    And if they want people to accept that they don’t think that the death penalty is murder, why can’t they accept that some of us don’t see abortion as murder?

  11. Chris Clarke says:

    If it favors the right’s point of view, it’s nuance and practicality.

    If it favors the left’s point of view, it’s hypocrisy.

  12. Shankar Gupta says:

    Life is sacred is a new argument, and it is not the same as saying “abortion is murder, and murder is wrong.” I too would look askance at someone who says that life is sacred, but then fires up the ol’ electric chair. Largely because saying things are “sacred” as a way of determining policy is just silly.

    And I can’t really speak for them, but I’d hazard a guess that they don’t really care whether or not you accept their beliefs on the matter, so long as abortions stop happening and executions keep happening.

  13. Shankar Gupta says:

    If it favors the lefts’s point of view, it’s nuance and practicality.

    If it favors the right’s point of view, it’s hypocrisy.

    There, Chris. I fixed it for ya.

  14. zuzu says:

    Life is sacred is a new argument, and it is not the same as saying “abortion is murder, and murder is wrong.”

    Oh, please, enlighten me on the difference here. If you argue that abortion is murder, then you have to hold that a fetus is a person — because you can only murder a person. Which means that killing a fully-formed adult is also murder.

    If you hold that life is sacred, it is sacred whether that life belongs to a zygote or a fully-formed adult.

  15. Chris Clarke says:

    God, Shankar, I guess you told me. How clever.

  16. Shankar Gupta says:

    Oh, please, enlighten me on the difference here.

    “Life is sacred” is an extremely broad and all-encompassing statement, which indeed covers the death penalty, abortion, assisted suicide, as well as medicare, smoking bans, war, and basically everything a society might face, ever. “Abortion is murder” is a specific statement about a specific act. If you hold the first belief, then you will hold the second. But just because you hold the second belief does not mean you hold the first.

    If you argue that abortion is murder, then you have to hold that a fetus is a person — because you can only murder a person.

    Yes.

    Which means that killing a fully-formed adult is also murder.

    No. A fully-formed adult might have done something to, not to put to fine a point on it, deserve being killed. Like coming at you with a knife with the intent to kill you, or recording the song “Toxic.”

  17. Shankar Gupta says:

    God, Shankar, I guess you told me. How clever.

    Thanks! You too!

  18. Thomas says:

    Shankar, if “murder” is the unjustified killing of another person, it does not follwo that abortion is murder. One may believe (and I do) that the right to control the use of one’s internal organs is so strong a right that one is justified in excluding others from it even unto their death — just as one might believe that one may deprive another of one’s personal property or of shelter in one’s home, even if it will cause the death of another.

  19. Thomas says:

    On reviewing the thread, Shankar, it appears you are holding the proposition that abortion is murder at arm’s length. If that is so, then my comment #18 is not really responsive to anything you have said.

  20. Shankar Gupta says:

    …just as one might believe that one may deprive another of one’s personal property or of shelter in one’s home, even if it will cause the death of another.

    I’m not sure how solid this analogy is. What if, say, you invited a person into your home, knowing that, once they arrived, if you put them out, they’d die, and then you did so. A case could be made that you’ve committed murder, or at least, acted with depraved indifference to human life. But “Abortion is Depraved Indifference to Human Life” doesn’t fit very well on placards.

    But I’m not arguing that abortion is murder–I don’t believe that it is. All I am arguing is that believing that abortion is murder and supporting the death penality are not mutually exclusive positions.

  21. Thomas says:

    What if, say, you invited a person into your home

    An analogy to deliberate conception. What if you left your house, taking reasonable but not perfect precautions to prevent access by unauthorized persons (as we all do — I bet my sliding basement door is no more effective at preventing unauthorized entry than properly used condoms are at preventing unwanted conception), but someone entered anyway, and by the time their presence was discovered, could not be ejected without their death?

    The argument for ejecting such an intruder from one’s body is a fortiori to the argument for ejecting the intruder from one’s home, as I think we would almost all conclude that one’s interest in controlling the use of our dwelling is lower than one’s interest in controlling the use of one’s physical being.

    I raise this argument because many folks on both sides seem to assume without further analysis that fetal personhood is the whole of the argument. Though I also reject fetal personhood, I think that’s hardly the end of the argument.

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