Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Anti-abortion law passes, and apparently "We're ordering lobster and having a party."

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. --George Washington

South Dakota: home of Mount Rushmore and, now, an anti-abortion bill. Let's put a check next to South Dakota on my Big List of 'Not If They Paid Me to Move There' States.

The anti-abortion bill (House Bill 1215) is, as a statement by Governor Rounds states, "An Act to establish certain legislative findings, to reinstate the prohibition against certain acts causing the termination of an unborn human life, to prescribe a penalty therefore, and to provide for the implementation of such provisions under certain circumstances." He goes on to say that while he expects legal snafus to come and obstruct the start-up of this law in July, he believes that "HB 1215 will give the United States Supreme Court [an] opportunity to reconsider an earlier opinion."

Good thing we have that liberal court with a woman on i-- Oh. Wait.

Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions . . . too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery. --Thomas Jefferson

Currently in the bill abortions can be performed if the mother will die (though in that case, the doctor is to attempt to save both lives if possible). A mother's declining health is not sufficient reason, mind you. And also at this time there is no provision for the victims of rape or incest. In fact, State Senator Bill Napoli said last Friday what he considers a 'good enough' rape to allow for an abortion:

A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

Mmmhmm. So all those nonreligious thirteen-year-old (aha, statuatory rape!) girls who were sexually molested (but, sadly, not up the ass) by adult friends, family, or internet strangers and became pregnant are just shit out of luck. Also, clearly, they will have no mental issues whatsoever. Nicely done, Mr. Napoli.

Then again, it's not as if South Dakota has been a bastion of abortion previously. According to NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, "South Dakota is perhaps the most difficult place in the country to get an abortion. There's a 24-hour waiting period and mandatory counseling to discourage the procedure. The law requires parental notification in cases where the patient is a minor. Only one clinic, Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, offers the procedure." On top of that, no local doctor practices there -- a physician from Minnesota is flown in weekly (amid, from what I can tell, rampant protesting).

The plea of good intentions is not one that can be allowed to have much weight in passing historical judgment upon a man whose wrong-headedness and distorted way of looking at things produced, or helped to produce, such incalculable evil; there is a wide political applicability in the remark attributed to a famous Texan, to the effect that he might, in the end, pardon a man who shot him on purpose, but that he would surely never forgive one who did so accidentally.--Theodore Roosevelt

But what can South Dakota be honestly expecting out of this? Will abortions miraculously Not Happen anymore? Well, legally that could happen if the Supreme Court does reverse Roe v. Wade. But what's legality got to do with it? What we'll return to is what we had before: doctors (and "doctors") performing illegal operations, at-home operations, and travel to places that do allow abortion.

I'm pro-Choice, but that doesn't mean I'm pro-abortion. I wish women weren't having as many abortions as they are. But having a law doesn't stop an action -- addressing why that action occurs will. Why do women have abortions? So that they will not give birth. So figure out why (or how) women are becoming pregnant when they don't want to be, and do something about that.

*cough Not much you can do about some things, frankly, but having access to sex education and prophylactics sure would help cough*

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name--liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names—liberty and tyranny. --Abraham Lincoln

Meanwhile, the rest of the world thinks we're rather bonkers, with France taking note that the law was signed off "just two days before the celebration of International Women's Day," and Britain quoting a supporter of the bill saying, "We're ordering lobster and having a party. We are thrilled." Google News is also a hotbed of fascinating reactions to the law, including New York's Editor & Publisher writing that South Dakota's Top Paper Refuses To Editorialize On Abortion Ban, and Seattle's Post-Intelligencer reporting that [Gloria] Steinman blasts South Dakota abortion law.

Finally, since I've tapped out the presidents on Mt. Rushmore for quotes, let me sign off with this one by Sharon Presley and Robert Cooke, authors of The Right to Abortion: A Libertarian Defense. Consider it, consider your life, consider the life of your daughters, sisters, and mothers, and then -- do something about this.

In the case of an unwanted pregnancy, the existential choice for a woman is not abortion vs. no abortion, but, as [Garrett Hardin] has pointed out, abortion vs. compulsory childbearing. If others can force her to be a mother... then she is coerced into putting her body at the disposal of the fetus as if she were an unclaimed natural resource or a chattel slave.... Thus, the woman's most fundamental right of choice, the right to control her own body and happiness, is being abrogated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the visitors here are pro-choice, so I have a question. Please understand I am not asking this question with any hostility...

The statement from Governor Rounds refers to abortion as the termination of an "unborn human life".

My question is this:
How is an "unborn" baby worth so much less to you than one that's already been delivered?

4:00 PM

Blogger Cass said...

How is an "unborn" baby worth so much less to you than one that's already been delivered?

It's tough to answer that one. As I mentioned in my post, I'm not pro-abortion. I happen to love kids, and I wish to have heaps of babies (I'm what they call a "breeder"). If I could stop the need for abortions right this second, by God I would -- and I think women the world over would thank me for it.

But as I haven't figured out a way yet to stop human females from getting pregnant (either out of rape, incest, bad luck, or lack of education), I'm damned if I'll stand by without comment while they're being forced against their will to carry a packet of DNA to term.

I'm very pro-Choice. I'm pro-woman, and I'm pro-women's rights. I'm also, not to put to fine a point on it, pro-children's rights. You may have noticed in my post that I spend a lot of time being seriously disgusted and horrified by the lack of a rape or incest provision. I wonder now, when you ask me how an unborn baby is worth so much less to me than one that's already been delivered, how an abused child can be worth so much less to you than the product of a hideous act. For that matter, if "every life is sacred" regardless of when it begins, I wonder how it is that we have so many homeless, abused, starving, parentless children in the United States -- when, as Governor Rounds says, "the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society." He says it in reference to unborn children -- I'm saying it for all children.

If you're pro-life, that's fine. Don't have an abortion. Adopt as many children as you can. Enter into the foster care system as a willing family. Support your local community center. Be a volunteer tutor. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Donate to your area's homeless and abused women shelters. Support sex education and free prophylactics. Lobby to have birth control made more accessible--

Love and support the children that are here already before you try to forcibly bring more into this world.

4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support women’s rights (everyone’s rights, actually), but I don’t think anyone has the right to decide when anyone else should be put to death. Pro-choice is what the pro-abortion people decided to call themselves.
I don’t call myself anti-choice  I don’t call myself pro-life either, I call myself anti-abortion. So, if I say someone is pro-abortion, what I mean is they support legislation that makes abortion legal.

Your reference to abused, homeless, and starving children do point out a serious problem; one that undeniably requires a solution. This problem, however, is unrelated to abortion. The reason I can say this, is that it wasn’t a widespread problem before abortion became ‘popular’.

I disagree with your assertion that abortions are necessary.
What did you mean about ‘an abused child can be worth so much less to you than the product of a hideous act’? If you’re talking about pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, then you know that abortions from these represent a tiny minority of the total number of abortions.
I don’t know how a woman would get pregnant as the result of ‘bad luck’.
The lack of education, also, is not common. Most women know how their bodies work, and are not confused about how they got pregnant. All of the abortions that women I know have had were simply a form of birth control when they failed to use condoms, birth control pills, etc, effectively (if at all).
This is what I object to; abortion is not birth control, it is killing a child.

Having said all this, I have another question.
If women were all completely education about how pregnancies occur, were given effective birth control, and were never raped, but still wanted abortions, where would you stand?
I expect you would still be pro-abortion.

5:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and thank you very much for your non belligerent response.

5:55 PM


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