The legislators of South Dakota should band together and take Jefferson’s face off Mt. Rushmore, replacing it with the bland effete puss usually used to represent Jesus. If they really get ambitious, they could scrape off the representations of the other presidents, too, and replace them with carvings of famous fetuses.
In November of 2006, the voters of South Dakota rejected—by a margin of 56% to 44%—a state law that banned abortion except to save the life of the mother. That law, deceitfully named The Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act, had been signed the previous March by the Republican governor, Mike Rounds. Immediately, a petition to repeal the ban was circulated; it needed 16,7000 certified signatures to get on the ballot, and ultimately received more than twice that amount.
About three months ago, South Dakota's voting public spoke. Loudly.
End of story, right?
Of course not. That isn’t the way religious zealots work. A bomb—this one legislative, rather than physical—was called for. The theocrats within our country have never been the people’s representatives; they are the representatives of their odious imaginary god. The right of privacy be damned! And nowhere more so than in South Dakota, the offensive state motto of which is: “Under God, the people rule.” Maybe that should be changed to the more honest: “Under God, the rulers peep!”
For, lo!, in the state congress, the godpushers have introduced an invasive new anti-abortion bill. Okay, the pious thugs said, we heard our constitutents. Let’s allow exceptions for rape and incest, as well as to preserve the woman’s health. But how about upping the maximum penalty for a doctor’s disobeying the law? Ten years in prison, for a felony, ought to do it! (In the original bill, the maximum sentence was a far-too-lenient five years only.)
Here’s the beauty part of the new bill for those determined to ram religion down the public’s throats (or up their privates, as the case may be). The onus is on the woman and her doctor to provide DNA evidence of rape or incest. In cases of rape, a woman would have to report the crime to police within 50 days of its occurrence, and her doctor would have to confirm that she had done this. Then, the doctor would have to work with law enforcement, offering blood from the aborted fetus for the authorities to test.
The incest provision is even more outrageous. Before an abortion could be performed, a doctor would have to get the pregnant patient to agree to report the incident as a crime and to provide the identity of the penis-owner. To date, no one has suggested that a cell phone photo of the offending member must also be presented.
To summarize the bill’s provisions: most abortions in South Dakota would be verboten, in direct contradiction to the Roe v. Wade decision. Abortions would be allowed when there had been a rape or incest, but only until the 17th week of pregnancy, and the woman and her doctor would have to jump through holy hoops. Whenever the mother’s health might be a concern, a doctor could perform an abortion, but only after obtaining a concurring opinion from a colleague in another practice. This opinion, assumedly, would be charged to the patient. After the operation, the doctor would have to submit a written statement to the department of health, explaining the circumstances that justified his or her decision to abort the fetus. Use of thumbscrews and/or the iron maiden are, apparently, optional.
And the alleged purpose of this infuriating bill? Need you ask? The legislators hope that it will ultimately result in an overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.
You can almost hear the sounds of Antonin Scalia’s hands rubbing together in glee, and picture the anticipatory saliva drooling down Clarence Thomas’s face.